Ann Olszewski's Reviews > Bread Givers

Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska
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really liked it

A fascinating look into the experience of a first-generation American immigrant, torn between the familial pull of the Old World and the opportunities available in a vibrant New York.

Yezierska portrays so well the toxic effect that an overbearing and religiously fundamentalist father has on his wife and daughters, blunting and destroying their chances for personal and professional success and happiness. Sara, the youngest daughter, breaks free of her father to pursue her dreams for education. The chapter on her time in college was so well-done, and rings true today - no matter how bright a person is, without the gloss and polish of at least a middle-class upbringing, society can be difficult to navigate.

This is really the ultimate "girl power" book, and considering that it was written in the 1920s, ahead of its time. It showed up on a lot of college reading lists during my time at university, and I've been meaning to read it for the last 20 years. It might have made a greater visceral impact on me at 18 or 20, when, like Sara, I was forging my own path. But now, it reminds me of how far American women have come in the last 100 years, how hard those battles were, and what a threat fundamentalist men still are to our well-being. Strongly recommended.
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Reading Progress

August 12, 2016 – Started Reading
August 12, 2016 – Shelved
August 20, 2016 – Finished Reading

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