Does every book read have to be a five-star, award-winning, New York Times bestseller?
When you read a lot and spend a good deal of time conversing with other readers it’s fairly easy to slip into the constant quest for the next great book. Instagram is my primary social media outlet because it’s fairly difficult to be nasty when you are essentially posting pictures with captions and a few thoughts. I digress but when I found “bookstagram” on Instagram I was thrilled.
Fellow readers! On Instagram! Posting pictures of books! With book reviews!
I fully admit to being a bookstagrammer and I find the community there to be warm, kind, respectful, and of course, interesting. I have only found one downside and can’t really imagine another one besides this one. What is it?
Getting on board the latest and greatest book train that never stops. I love new books and enjoy reading what everyone is reading and talking about. I’m always looking out for the next great review while readying myself to grab said book and read it ahead of all the other books in my to-be-read pile.
But what about the average books? The ones that aren’t what everyone is raving about? For me, I have learned that average books have plenty to offer. I found this true after finishing this audiobook, The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.
I was pleasantly surprised by the book. The plot, the writing, and the storytelling quality of the book made it a nice change of pace. Especially after back to back books about missing and dead women.
I logged into Goodreads to mark this book complete and started reading reviews. I was surprised at how tough some of the reviews were. Of course reviews should be honest and every reader is entitled to their opinion but reading comments about being “tired of the immigrant to America success story” plot made me laugh.
What would be preferred? To read books about immigrants coming to America and failing? We get enough of that narrative in real life. Again I digress but I don’t want every book I read to mirror reality.
Average books have plenty to draw from and I have found that the average quality gives the reader room to think, reflect, and take from the book what they want or even need.
The Boston Girl is a coming of age, immigrant success story told by 85-year-old Addie to her granddaughter. She was born in America in 1900 to Jewish immigrants. She had two older sisters and her life began in a one room apartment.
Addie’s parents were very traditional but 16-year-old Addie wanted more from life than to only marry and have children. She wanted an education and to even have a career. But the early 1900’s were not especially kind to women like Addie or women in general.
The issues of abortion, sexual assault, suicide, death, child labor, illness, racism, and sexism were all a part of this book. Told solely from Addie’s perspective, it is the story of a young woman navigating her way through some of the very same issues women face today.
The plot did not expand upon every single issue and while that bothered some reviewers, I liked being able to think about the issues on my own, how they related to the character, and how not so different they are even today.
Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone who isn’t sick of the “immigrant to America success story”. I joke… kind of. This book was a quick read (listen) and a good reminder of despite how bleak things seem today, the world and it’s view of women has improved. Yes, there is more work to do but I found the tenacity, humor, and intelligence of Addie to be endearing and encouraging.
I listened to the audio version of this book and the narration was wonderful. The narrator sounded like a Boston girl in her 80’s and her words added to the overall effect of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to a feisty grandma tell me about her life and the time she smoked pot on her 80th birthday with her granddaughter.
Who wouldn’t want to get to know a character like that?
What is one of your favorite average books?