How I Found America: Collected Stories of Anzia Yezierska
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How I Found America: Collected Stories of Anzia Yezierska

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Individually, each of these 27 stories is authentic and immediate, as memorable as family history passed from one generation to the next; taken together, they comprise a vivid, enduring portrait of the struggles of immigrant Jews—particularly women—on New York's Lower East Side.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 17th 2003 by Persea (first published 1991)
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Anna
Oct 17, 2008 Anna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who love 20th century immigrants that say "ach" and "oy" a lot
How I Found America is a collection of stories about Russian Jewish immigrants at the turn of the 20th Century. The idea of the impoverished Russian Jew living in a crowded tenement on the lower east side is a figure that permeates most immigrant literature of the time, and unfortunately this generalization is continued by Yezierska. I can't blame the author, who is an immigrant herself and has probably witnessed the scenes she writes about. However, I am a bit annoyed at the number of books I h...more
Jing
A immigrant came to America because she believe there was hope to rise up. However, the person was met with struggles everywhere, house evictions, revolt of children, hunger, marriage and even struggling to maintain her own identity. She found writing as a way to express this and free her mind from such struggles.

This book was very sad. However, we were able to learn from a Jewish immigrant's experience of how one rise up to become a writer. In it, there are continuous amount of struggles, whi...more
Rachel D
Jul 16, 2008 Rachel D rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in emigre fiction; the 20th c. Russian Jewish immigrant experience in the US
This is a series of short stories about Jewish immigrant life in New York in the 20th century and the crushing alienation that comes from the clash of Russian and American cultures. Yezierska herself was an immigrant, from Russian Poland, and struggled with alienation from herself and society her entire life; many of the stories mirror her struggle. She does a fine job of incorporating descriptive narration and dialect into her stories of the Lower East Side, making the reader feel she is right...more
Sharon
Aug 17, 2008 Sharon rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yiddishists and anyone interested in the Jewish lower east side of the early 1900s
The stories in the first half of the book -- the stories of the poorest of the poor on the Lower East Side -- are often overwrought and repetitive. Yezierska returns to the same theme over and over -- as she freely admits in an essay in the second half of the book, which collects her later writings. But the earlier stories are a fascinating window into a long-gone time and culture. They're grim and not at all romanticized.

The best part of the book is Yezierska's stories and essays about aging, p...more
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2494
Date of Birth: 1885
Date of Death: 1970

Anzia Yezierska, the youngest of nine children, was born into poverty circa 1885 in Russian Poland. Her family immigrated to the Lower East Side of Manhattan around 1892. Immigration officials used the oldest child's name, Mayer, as the last name of the family and switched Anzia's name to Harriet, and so she became Hattie Mayer. After attending elementary scho...more
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