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The Lullaby of Polish Girls

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  801 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
A vibrant, engaging debut novel that follows the friendship of three women, from their coming of age in a small town in Poland in the 1980s to their complicated adult lives, by the stunning and talented actress Dagmara Dominczyk.

Anna's family emigrate to the U.S. in the 1980s when she is just a girl. They are granted political asylum because of her father's role in the Sol
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Spiegel & Grau
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Eve Frankel
Jul 10, 2013 Eve Frankel rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book--being that I was born in Poland but raised in New York by parents who sought and found political asylum in the US. But there was little that I liked about it and what I did like--the interspersed Polish, images of the home country--would be lost on the average reader.

The 3 main female characters in The Lullaby of Polish Girls felt a bit like caricatures that were not fully developed and therefore, less then compelling. The drama and conflicts that took place seemed l
Aug 04, 2013 Karo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: immigrant, polish
I loved this book. I am not, perhaps, the most objective of reviewers as I am the same age as the author and had a very similar childhood, emigrating from Poland as a young girl and returning in the summers after the fall of communism. But the author nails it. Nails. It. Her Poland is the real thing. And yes, of course, not everyone in Poland is a toothless drunk on welfare. But you cannot have spent any time in the country as a non-tourist and not recognize the characters Ms. Dominczyk describe ...more
Feb 21, 2013 dsneaks rated it it was amazing
I received The Lullaby of Polish Girls by Dagmara Domincyzk for free through good reads first reads give away. okay I MUST SAY I LOVED THIS BOOK! I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I could not put it down, I finished it in a matter of days and could of probably finished it in a few hours if i had the time! It got me from the start and kept me interested none stop. I did not want to put it down and when ever I had free time I found myself looking for the book and counting the time til ...more
Eve Jankowicz
As soon as I saw this book mentioned in Vogue magazine, I made note of it since any book with "Polish" in the title (or whose subject matter is about Poland or Polish people) is a must-read for me. I commend the author for writing the book since we need many, many more well-written books of fiction about Polish people.

I probably would have rated this book higher, but did not due to the many negative stereotypes of Polish people it contains. Granted, you will find these same negative stereotypes
Mar 12, 2013 Jessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 30, 2013 Jeanne rated it it was ok
I agree with other reviewers that the overuse of crude words cheapens this novel. What a shame, as the writing isn't bad. I don't think the author is doing her home country any favors by portraying Polish girls as promiscuous and coarse. Can anyone tell me the significance of the "lullaby?" Perhaps I missed something.
Jennifer Didik
(Goodreads giveaway!)


It took some time for this book to grow on me, but eventually it did. I had a hard time differentiating the characters early on, possibly this was my shortcoming and not the novel's. I appreciated that the portrayal of these three girls is raw, honest, a bit vulgar. I thought the non-linear storytelling was effective (albeit a too formulaic perhaps). I enjoyed all of the Polish being spoken, even if I didn't understand half of it despite some context clues (but I'm also c
Jun 18, 2013 Krysia rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I have mixed feelings about this book. As a 100% Polish American, who is an avid reader of fiction, I was excited to read advanced buzz about this book prior to its publication. After all, there aren't many novels in English set in Poland. While the writing and characters are engaging, the people of Kielce come off as "white trash." I am afraid that this novel might unwittingly encourage further misconceptions about the character and behavior of Polish people. If much of this novel is based on t ...more
Jun 14, 2013 Irene rated it really liked it
The Polish words sprinkled throughout the book brought back so many memories of growing up in a household where my parents talked to us children in Polish and we answered in English. I don't normally like to read novels, but this was really good. Adventures of three friends growing up and where their lives landed up.
Betsy Hover
Feb 08, 2013 Betsy Hover rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-read-already
I was delighted to receive this book from Goodreads Giveaway!

This book took you on a journey of a young girl longing to find where she connected, belonged and developing friendships along the way. The life span of friendships of these three girls.

I would recommend this book as an AWESOME read.
Jun 08, 2013 Judi rated it did not like it
The story of three friends from Poland had potential but fell really, really short. In my opinion, the book lacked a strong editor. The plot was undeveloped in some areas and overdone in others while the ending felt completely rushed. Sorry, just not worth the time.
Oct 28, 2014 Tripfiction rated it really liked it
Anna Baran moves with her family to the United States in the 1980’s. Her father’s role in the Solidarity movement gives them political refugee status, but also means that he can never return to Poland. The family settle in Brooklyn in an area filled with immigrants of every stripe but the young Anna still feels like an outsider. Then, when she is almost thirteen, she is taken back to Kielce for a brief visit and finds a place that feels like home. More importantly, she also finds that she is sud ...more
Apr 27, 2013 Agi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This book started a little slowly for me and I was confused where it is going to take me.
But it took me okay on a journey to Poland and the USA with three Polish girlfriends.
I would say that if I was not from Poland myself I would find this book not so interesting. Dominczyk took here a big risk - in my opinion - writing about middle big city in Poland, a city where actually not a lot happens, a city not a lot of people heard of. Because the biggest part of the book takes place in Kielce. What w
Oct 01, 2013 Diane rated it liked it
I was curious about this book ever since I first heard about it as both sets of my grandparents came to the US from Poland.

The Lullaby of Polish Girls tells the story of three friends who met when they were 12 years-old in Kielce, Poland and formed a special bond. Although they do lose contact as adults, a devastating tragedy brings them back together. Anna is the most worldly of the group having lived in several different places. She eventually becomes an actress in the US, but her life is anyt
Dec 22, 2014 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Anna by: npl
I have very mixed feelings about this book ...

It's great to have a contemporary Polish story, characters and author but this one is not very compelling or interesting. I think the author's notes at the end of the story were more impressive than the actual narratives.
Although parts of it did remind me of family trips there and the "summer" relationships and friendships, and the impression that not much has changed since the fall of Communism. I am also disturbed that there is not one positive por
Diane S ☔
Oct 16, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
Three women who had become friends when they were younger, but has their lived took different turns they have become separated. All this changes when one of the woman become involved in a horrible tragedy and the other woman are at points in their lives where they needed to get away. They first met in Poland and this is where they reunite. Each character tells their story and it switches from the past to the present. This was an okay coming of age story, there were some things I felt were unnece ...more
Marcy Dermansky
Mar 25, 2014 Marcy Dermansky rated it it was amazing
I love coming of age novels, especially about girls. I loved the form of this book. Three coming of age stories, jumping from adolescence to adult hood, each chapter, a different voice, each chapter able to stand alone, like a short story. Anna Baran, the Polish girl who grew up in America, was my favorite of the three. Dagmara Dominczyck had a great line about Poland was three things to Americas: kielbasa, the pope, and Auschwitz, and that is pretty much true for me. So this novel was a little ...more
Jun 19, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
This was a very engrossing, fast read. An fascinating look at the lives of 3 young Polish women. Two of the protagonists live in Poland year-round, and the other one, like the author herself, lives in America most of the year and in Poland just in the summers. It's a coming-of-age story, but also a look at contemporary, post-1989 Poland and the split psyches of immigrants from Poland, especially those from the Martial Law emigration.
Mar 07, 2013 Brianna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: young women
I received this book through the FirstReads giveaway and I was delighted to give it a chance. I followed three young women from their teens into adulthood. It's a reminder that times change and people change.

This book is by no means "sweet". It's real. Love it.
Oct 15, 2014 Jess rated it really liked it
That was lovely and beautiful. I hope she writes another one.
Alexandra Tobor
Jul 25, 2013 Alexandra Tobor rated it it was ok
Awkward, depressing and pointless.
Maggie Wrobel
Feb 22, 2017 Maggie Wrobel rated it it was ok
I wanted so badly to love this book. As a Polish immigrant myself, I was delighted by the idea of tracing the experience of a woman whose roots in her ojczyzna run deep.
I was mostly disappointed, however, by the thinly-written heroines(?) of this story. The book doesn't seem to care enough for its three protagonists to make them any more than crude caricatures, which is a real shame and wasted opportunity.
I was tantalized by glimpses of a profound appreciation for and romanticization of my hom
Mar 19, 2017 marjorieee rated it it was ok
It felt cold and fake. There were a few moments I felt for some characters, but they were way too few and far between to hold up an entire novel. I just didn't get this book.
Dominczyk (herself a Polish immigrant) is oddly more famous than most first time published authors, so I think that added to the press and hype of this novel—she was an actress before she was a writer (she played Mercedes in 2002's "The Count of Monte Cristo" and Suzanne in "Running with Scissors" as well as a myriad of TV appearances) she's also married to the actor Patrick Wilson ("Insidious" and "Insidious chapter 2"). Although the novel is good, I wouldn't say that it was worthy of all the m ...more
Sarah A
Mar 07, 2017 Sarah A rated it it was ok
This started out really good but by the middle I was confused and bored. If it was any longer I would have DNF'd it.
When I heard about Dagmara Dominczyk’s (it’s taken me ages to get the spelling of her second name correct, but I have sussed it) debut novel The Lullaby of Polish Girls, I was intrigued by the sound of it. Much like the first chapter in the book, where Anna and Ben are chatting in bed and Anna is chuffed Ben now knows so much about Poland, I know very little about Poland, but I was intrigued to learn more, intrigued to know more about the place Robert Kubica (a Formula One driver) was born, and ...more
Feb 27, 2014 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I was first attracted to Dagmara Dominczyk’s The Lullaby of Polish Girls by the cover illustration for the paperback edition. Eleanor Hardwick’s photograph features three blonde adolescents dressed for a mad tea party (one in a top hat, another in a rabbit mask, a third in summer blue dress). The teens don’t look particularly mad. Only the one in the mask might be dubbed eccentric. Still, I expected the spirit of Lewis Carroll’s manic characters to manifest in some manner in Dominczyk’s book.

Benny Wilkinson
The Lullaby of Polish Girls offers three different views of growing up Polish. Anna's family fled Poland when she was young and started a new life in America, so she only experiences her hometown of Kielce in brief summer visits during the 1990s, where she forms lasting friendships with Kamila and Justyna, but spends most of her time in the U.S. pursuing her acting dream. Kamila is insecure, envious of the other two for their confidence or their beauty, but remains ever-optimistic that she'll ev ...more

I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The story is about three girls who lived in Poland, not all of them stay, however they return to their town every summer. They end up losing contact, but years later, fate brings them together again and they need to face all those summers before.

At the beginning of the book the author gives the pronunciations of Polish names to help you read names throughout the book. This I had a problem with as although it was very good
Jan 06, 2015 Helen rated it liked it
Shelves: women, misc-fiction
I got this book from the library because I read that Patrick Wilson's wife had written a book and even though I have never met Patrick, I was interested because I live in St Petersburg, where the talented Wilson family is well known and admired.

The book intertwines the stories of three young Polish women, with flashbacks from the present (2002) to earlier years, starting in 1989, following the development of their relationship. In structure and in the coming of age and friendship themes, you c
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Dagmara Domińczyk is a Polish-American actress and author. She is married to actor Patrick Wilson, they have two children.
More about Dagmara Domińczyk...

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“You know who else had a kid when she was a teenager? Holy fucking Mary, Mother of God! And that shit turned out fine, that shit saved the world, didn't it now?” 0 likes
“apart and it will always be your job to put them back together.” There are countless instances of things falling” 0 likes
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