Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Boston Girl” as Want to Read:
The Boston Girl
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Boston Girl

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  82,387 ratings  ·  9,315 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes an unforgettable coming-of-age novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century.

Addie Baum is The Boston Girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspici
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published December 9th 2014 by Scribner
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Boston Girl, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Yaaresse I thought it was as well-written and enjoyed it as much, but otherwise I wouldn't compare the two. This is a very different kind of story: sweeter, mo…moreI thought it was as well-written and enjoyed it as much, but otherwise I wouldn't compare the two. This is a very different kind of story: sweeter, more simple and quiet. (less)
Marji Morris Jewish life, yes. Judaism, no. More accurately, it depicts the Jewish immigrant experience in the early 20th century.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  82,387 ratings  ·  9,315 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Boston Girl
Lori Elliott (semi-hiatus)
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those rare novels that if 'life hadn't gotten in the way' I could have read in one sitting. It was like pulling a warm blanket out of the drier and wrapping it around you... I LOVED the first person telling of the story and felt like Addie was my grandmother telling me about her life. Very simple and honest... made me truly wish that my own grandparents were still around to ask them the story of their lives. A true gem! ...more
Ron Charles
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Anita Diamant’s new novel,“The Boston Girl,” comes to us as the transcript of a tape-recorded monologue delivered by an 85-year-old woman named Addie Baum. Addie is cheery, alert and full of needlepointed wisdom. If this allegedly spontaneous memoir is any indication, she’s also the most well-organized 85-year-old woman in the world. Asked by her granddaughter to talk about how she got to be the person she is today, Addie takes us back to 1900, the year she was born. From there, she leads us thr ...more
Elyse Walters
I read this novel in 2 sittings! It took my heart!

A LIFE STORY ......Beautifully written by a Master storyteller. (The author has the talent to make challenging complex structure look effortless, even casual).

I was 'weeping' at the pure beauty this novel was - (weeping to have it end).

This is one of the best 'simple-but-powerful' stories I've read all year --(with very clean editing)! I deeply appreciate that there was not 'any' wasted unnecessary chatter.

Universal forces are examined throug
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
In 1985 Addie Baum decides to tell her granddaughter Ava Miller the story of her life. Looking back on eighty five years of memories, Addie reminisces of times long gone, of life before modern conveniences as dish washers and telephones, of immigrants toiling in factories during their first years in the United States. Addie Baum has lived in Boston for her entire life and is The Boston Girl in every sense of the word.

I first read Anita Diamont years ago with her debut novel The Red Tent. At the
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
When Addie Baum’s granddaughter asks her how she came to be the woman she is today, Addie embarks on a trek down memory lane. It is now 1985 as she relates her life story to granddaughter Ava, but her story goes back many, many years. Addie, now at the wise age of eighty-five, was born to Jewish-Russian immigrants but was born in America and lived her entire life in Boston. The novel is written in a conversational tone as granddaughter and grandmother bond through the sharing of these vivid memo ...more
Feb 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club, fiction
Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle. This was read for my IRL book club. ***SPOILER WARNING***

I have to say straight out that I’m the wrong reader for this book, always a risk when somebody else chooses the reading material. It pings a couple of my prejudices:

First, I don’t like immigrant success stories. They’re always the same—a girl, generally Irish or Jewish for some reason, comes to America/is born in America to a recently arrived immigrant family. She grows up strongly influenced by
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Review of Advanced Reading Copy, Kindle edition.

At one point, I looked up this title on Goodreads to see if it was a young adult or youth title. The narrative, complimented by uncomplicated writing style, was very straightforward and unembellished. This is not to say that the novel was ill-written. In fact, it was well-written in that it read like a transcript of an oral history, which is the basis for the story. But this reader was expecting more of a literary style.

And if the voice of the narr
This is the story of 85-year-old Addie Baum, told in an interview with her grand daughter. It is a sweet tale of a time when Addie's family was new to the country and she was the only one to be born in the US out of them all. She was born in Boston before the first World War and being Jewish she didn't have it as easy as many others would. This is a great story of family, friendship, career, and love.

This book is so incredible at establishing a well-rounded character that I found myself double c
Diane S ☔
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 When Addie's grand-daughter asks an 85 year old Addis to tell her about her life it opens a conversation between the two of them. So the style of this book is divided in years and written somewhat as a memoir.

Starting the in early 1900's, Addie's parent's came to the North end of Boston from Russia. They live with all the suspicions and dislike held for the Jews at that time. So much history is covered from tenement living, prohibition, the flu epidemic, the polio epidemic and the fight to g

* Happy Sigh*, What a nice read that was. I haven't read a book that fast in ages. I am a fan of books that cover a protagonists entire lifetime, however I feel that they can be hard to do right. They either end up being too long and forcing you to skim, or too short and leave you feeling like there are holes in the story. This book was a good middle ground between the two. I thought that the way the story was told (with Addie telling the story of her life to her granddaughter), was a clever way
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Every time I pick up a Diamant, I am hoping it will be the next Red Tent, but it never is. Sometimes it is sad when an author peaks early, and in this case I think she did. But, this review is not about The Red Tent, it is about The Boston Girl, which I found to be quite mediocre.

The story is told, unnecessarily, by an eighty-five year old Addie Baum to her granddaughter, Ava. I could find no purpose in this device. We are told nothing about Addie at this age nor about Ava or her life, we are si
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a heartwarming story about a girl growing up in Boston in the Twentieth Century.

The novel begins in 1985, with Addie Baum telling her life story to her granddaughter. Addie is the daughter of Jewish immigrants, and times were tough in the early 1900s. Luckily, Addie was a clever girl who liked to learn, so she did well in school and eventually became a writer.

Addie did have some early trouble with men (trigger warning: sexual assault scene), but eventually she met a nice fella and marri
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Addie Baum's Papa, Mameh, and two sisters immigrated to Boston from Russia before Addie was conceived, so she is a true Boston girl with the accent to prove it. Her Mameh is a sour woman who is distrustful of all things American and doesn't hesitate to say so. She is an injustice collector and a blame placer. Nothing is ever good enough for her, especially Addie, who wants to read and get a good education. Mameh mutters spells to ward off the evil eye, thinks an enema is the cure for virtually e ...more
What s wonderful book! Addie Baum is recounting her life to her granddaughter Ava, and after awhile, you forget that this is fiction. You get so immersed in the story, all the heartache and the joy, and all the marvelous, and some not so marvelous, people in Addie's life. But all the characters are so vivid, so perfectly portrayed, that you think they are real.
Addie is the perfect narrator. She can look back on her life and evoke the emotions but also apply a wry wit to situations.
There is a l
Mar 26, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought for sure I was reading a children's book and had to check. But I was surprised to learn it was adult fiction. The simple sentences and uncomplicated story line would make a good children's introduction to what immigrant life was like in the early 1900s. But as an adult book it was pablum. No tension, no complications, straight forward story with no self criticism or doubt. Yes, it was pleasant and I may tell my 11 year old granddaughter it would be good for her. Although since she is f ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
This might work as a "young adult" book, but I found it very disappointing. The fact that our "Boston Girl", now a grandmother, is sharing her memories with her granddaughter, make the narrative just plain juvenile and silly at times. Our girl certainly has a great memory, though....again, unbelievably so. Love Anita, and remember fondly how much I enjoyed her columns way back years ago in the Boston Globe. The Red Tent, of course, is in a class by itself. Oh, well.... ...more
Angela M (On a little break)
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars if I could, but rounded up to 4 stars.

This is a story of the daughters of immigrants finding their way in the changing society in Boston starting in 1900 when Addie Baum is born. It took me a while to get into it and the conversational tone feels like a memoir as Addie, whose Jewish family immigrated from what she says is now Russia, tells her story to her granddaughter. But once I did get into it, I was really interested in Addie, and her friends and her sister Betty and how these wom
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: personal-library
Anita Diamant is best known for her book The Red Tent which I thoroughly enjoyed. I cannot say the same for this one.

The novel is presented as a monologue delivered by 85-year-old Addie Baum in response to her granddaughter’s question about how she got to be the woman she is. She chronicles her life in Boston from her birth in 1900 to Jewish immigrants to her marriage in 1927. These years are covered in great detail, but her life after her marriage is glossed over.

The book is dull. It is a pla
Connie G
"The Boston Girl" is both the tale of an immigrant family making a new life in America, and the story of a young girl turning into a spunky, ambitious Twentieth Century woman. When Addie Baum's granddaughter asked her how she got to be the woman she is today, Addie goes back to when she and her family lived in the North End of Boston. Her Jewish Russian immigrant parents had a difficult time adapting to America, especially her cranky mother. Born in 1900, Addie's intelligence and independence we ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books about jewish life in the 20th century I have read to date . Yes Anita diamant is an excellent writer and I have bought more of her books since reading this one and I want her to keep writing LOL . Seriously you guys this book and the charecters stayed with me long after I finished the book . I could not put it down and did not want to put it down once I opened it and believe me when I say it was hard to stop reading it . I fell in love with these people aka charecte ...more
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Simple but engrossing tale. I loved the style of writing. The way Addie was telling her story to her granddaughter, made me remember my youth. I've always loved hearing stories of the past. Even as a young child of 6 &7, I loved visiting my Aunt Violet and listening to hear her talk. Some would have found that boring spending hours with an "old" person speak of the olden times but I have always found it fascinating. So this book was right up my alley---made me remember good times well spent with ...more
Joy D
Addie Baum is being interviewed by her granddaughter, Ava, about her life. The narrative is told in first person from Addie’s perspective. She was born in the US after her Jewish family emigrated from eastern Europe in the 1890s. It reads as a “fictional memoir” of all the events that occurred in during 1900 to 1985 from one woman’s viewpoint. It touches on the many difficulties faced by women of those times such as limited educational opportunities, marriage and motherhood pressures, and workpl ...more
Historical Fiction
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...

I picked up Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl as an in-between read, you know, one of those titles you crack open to ‘cleanse the palate’ between heavier fare? I was in the market for something light and it looked like it’d fit the bill so I pulled it up on my kindle and dug in. I’d no expectations and had no prior experience with the author’s work, so I was a surprised as anyone when the novel swept me clean off my feet.

The b
Debbie "DJ"
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this novel. It's told through the eyes of 85 year old Addie, a jewish immigrant, growing up in early 20th century Boston. Her granddaughter has asked her "How did you get to be the woman you are today?" Addie states "It all started in that library, in the reading club. That's where I started to be my own person."

The novel continues through many historical events; WWI, sweatshops, the Great Depression, the flu epidemic, feminism, and more. I really enjoyed reading of the transformation
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
I received this book from Netgalley.

This is a wonderful book that draws you in immediately. Addie Baum is an 85 year old woman who tells her granddaughter the story of her youth and how it shaped her. The daughter of Jewish Russian immigrants she literally made her own way in life with her gutsy, unique choices. The family lived in a tenement and thanks to her older sisters sacrifices she was able to continue in school long after her parents wanted her out and working.

She was really
Rashmi Tiwari
Aug 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Possibly the worst, most sentimental piece of claptrap shit I have read in a great while. This book calls into question a million basic questions of craft. Here are a few of the most relevant:

1. Why insist on the grandma-telling-young-granddaughter-the-ways-of-the-world trope? Addie's story of growing up in a time of prescribed roles for women and her own striving to break away is fodder enough for a novel without this annoying frame.
2. Has Diamant heard of "SHOW, DON'T TELL?" I get that her boo
Scottsdale Public Library
“How did you get to be the person you are today?” So begins the novel of The Boston Girl. Addie Baum is one of three daughters born to Jewish-Russian immigrants. The book tells about her growing up in the late 1890’s – early 1900’s and her will to try new things; always wishing and hoping for her mother’s approval.
You will completely fall in love with Addie and cheer for her when she discovers her wings! Once you start this you won’t want to put it down. The novel is filled with historical occu
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was EXACTLY like the big immigrant family sagas I used to love in my teens, by people like Belva Plain and Howard Fast. Nothing fancy, an OK story, a bit of history thrown in. 1919? Uh oh, here comes the flu! 1922? Boom, everyone's bobbing their hair! ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
““Ava, sweetheart, if you ask me to talk about how I got to be the woman I am today, what do you think I am going to say?” So begins the narrative of The Boston Girl, a fictional transcript of an interview of 85-year-old Addie Braun by her granddaughter.

One of three daughters of Jewish immigrants who grew up in a one-room apartment in the North End of Boston, Addie Braun recounts to Ava and the reader stories from her life ranging from 1915 through 1985. She tells wanting to continue her educati
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars: The Boston Girl is a fine read. I particularly enjoyed it because I’ve lived in the Boston area for nearly 30 years. The local references were especially appealing to me. If a reader isn’t from the area, I think it might be a basically good historical fiction book, but I’m not sure if it would be a 4 star novel.

The novel is written in first person, as an eighty-five year old Grandmother talking to her Grand daughter. It’s like an interview answer after the Grand daughter asked: How di
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • 'Tis The Season
  • The Viognier Vendetta (Wine Country Mysteries #5)
  • Sandwich, with a Side of Romance (Sandwich #1)
  • Marry Me at Willoughby Close (Willoughby Close, #5)
  • Meet Me at Willoughby Close (Willoughby Close, #2)
  • It Looked Different on the Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy
  • Lessons in Chemistry
  • Murder on a Girls' Night Out (Southern Sisters, #1)
  • The Personal Librarian
  • The Virgins of Venice
  • The Misfortune of Marion Palm
  • Kiss Me at Willoughby Close (Willoughby Close, #4)
  • How to Spell Chanukah: and other holiday dilemmas
  • No Bootstraps When You're Barefoot
  • Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit
  • Dirshuni: Contemporary Women’s Midrash
  • What Are We For?: The Words and Ideals of Eleanor Roosevelt
  • No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Anita Diamant is the author of thirteen books -- including THE RED TENT. Based on the biblical story of Dinah, THE RED TENT became a word-of-mouth bestseller in the US and around the world, where it has been published in more than 25 countries.

Her new book, a work of nonfiction. PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE. A NEW CHAPTER IN THE FIGHT FOR MENSTRUAL JUSTICE will be published in May 2021., As different

Related Articles

Writing about the ancient Near East in 1500 B.C.E. means that no one can really challenge my recipe for goat stew. The closer you get to modern...
4 likes · 21 comments
“When a shy person smiles, it’s like the sun coming out.” 58 likes
“It was one of those perfect fall days when the air is cool enough to wake you up but the sun is also kissing your face.” 30 likes
More quotes…