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The Boston Girl
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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > July 2018 - The Boston Girl

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Jul 01, 2018 03:43PM) (new)

Sarah | 18233 comments One of the group reads for July is The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant. Please discuss the book in this thread.

Cherie will be leading the discussion.

In order to receive a badge you must:
1. have completed the book before or during July 2018.
2. discussed it in this thread. Discussion must be more than "I read the book and I liked it". Discussion requires something more substantial and analytical of what you read, for example, thoughts, opinions, impact it had on you, what was your favourite part, was it what you expected it to be like etc. You may also like to review the book and post a link to the review in this thread. Please refer to our group spoiler policy for further information.
3. Report that you have read AND discussed the book in the reporting thread (include a brief summary of what you thought of the book).

General Rules:
1. Please mark your spoilers with the spoiler tags along with mentioning what stage of the book you are at so other's don't get a nasty shock. Chapter numbers/titles are generally best as they are the same across all formats and editions. See our spoiler policy
2. The book may be combined with the Year Long Challenge, Topplers, and Monthly Challenges.

Happy reading!


message 2: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 15518 comments I'm hoping to get to this one later in the month.


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Roz, if you are still reading, I will be joining you shortly.


message 4: by Roz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roz | 3971 comments I'm here. I've read about 30 pages. I like reading about the immigrant experience. I started working on my family tree again, especially after visiting Ellis Island a couple of months ago (for the first time) and the whole "thing" - leaving your homeland, living in tenements, trying to assimilate into American culture, finding work - is fascinating.

Here are some of my thoughts so far:

Chapter: Three Cheers for Addie Baum:
(view spoiler)

I found information about Settlement Houses:
The Settlement Houses became an important vehicle for the integration of immigrants (primarily women) into American society. They provided various services including health care, daycare, employment opportunities, cultural activities, language classes etc. Settlements, then, aimed not only to provide services and assistance to their neighbors but also to spur reform that could improve the way the poor and working class lived.
Its main object was the establishment of "settlement houses" in poor urban areas, in which volunteer middle-class "settlement workers" would live, hoping to share knowledge and culture with, and alleviate the poverty of, their low-income neighbors.

Chapter: What are Friends For?
Rockport Lodge was a vacation house for working women of low and moderate income, starting in 1906 with the purchase of a house and property by the Massachusetts Association of Women Workers. Closed in 2002. I found an article in The Boston Globe August 18, 1907 that included pictures of the house and described it as “vacation home for working girls”.

I also found this web page where the author describes her inspiration for the book, challenging the assertion that her books are character driven. For this book, The Boston Girl, the inspiration came from Rockport Lodge itself.
http://anitadiamant.com/2015/03/histo...


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments I read to page 58 today. The Chapter starting on page 59 is called "I thought I was in love".
So, I read 11 Chapters.

In Three Cheers For Addie Blum, I had to stop and look up The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and read it. I remembered the first verse. Hehe. I bookmarked the Rockport Lodge to look up tomorrow, but you beat me to it, Roz. Thank you for all the information!
I knew a little bit about the settlement house scene from other books I have read, but I was going to research them too. (view spoiler)

In What are Friends For? (view spoiler). Oh, and I want to know how to make three-cornered hats out of newspaper!

In You Must be the Smart One and Mazel tov and This Daughter of yours is a Firecracker(view spoiler)


Peggy (pebbles84) | 15663 comments I read this book 3.5 years ago. I gave it 4 stars but don't remember a thing of it. I looked back at my review and part of it says "To me, there is nothing very special about this book, nothing that pops out, nothing that I feel I should definitely mention in my review. Still, this was a book that I really enjoyed reading. " So I guess it makes sense that I don't remember much, but I have a notoriously bad memory with regard to books anyway.

I'll be reading your posts to see if things come back to me.


Tricia (triciareadsitall) | 849 comments I'm picking this up today. Thanks, everyone, for all the background information. I sometimes think it helps going into a new book with some knowledge of the ideas in it that we might not be so familiar with today.

I've never read anything by Anita Diamant so I'm really looking forward to this.

I'll be back soon to read everyone's thoughts and add my own.


Renee (elenarenee) | 1650 comments I read this when it first came out.I will be following along. I may do a reread but I am having some energy issues. Its a good book hope its okay if I chime in.

I find it interesting that both books we picked this month involve the immigrant experience. I want to follow this discussion to compare it with Brooklyn.


Tricia (triciareadsitall) | 849 comments Cherie wrote: "I read to page 58 today. The Chapter starting on page 59 is called "I thought I was in love".
So, I read 11 Chapters.

In Three Cheers For Addie Blum, I had to stop and look up The Midnight Ride o..."


To make a three-corner hat out of newspaper
https://www.ehow.com/how_5084590_make...

My grandmother used to make these with us all the time. Incidentally, there is then a way to turn the hat into a boat; and then you can tell a story about the boat ending up in a shipwreck. As you tell the story, you tear the paper in a certain way, and at the end you're left with only a folded paper t-shirt.


Tricia (triciareadsitall) | 849 comments I'm several chapters in now. So far so good, I'm not sure what I think of the way the story is being told, but I'll probably get used to it. (view spoiler)

In the chapter called "What are Friends for," (view spoiler)


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Tricia wrote: "I've never read anything by Anita Diamant so I'm really looking forward to this...."

We read her book, The Red Tent a few years ago, as a group read, I think.


message 12: by Cherie (last edited Jul 02, 2018 11:21AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Re three-corner hat:
Hahaha, thank you for the link, Tricia. I thought this was something different. We used to make these hats all of the time. We called them sailor hats vs. three-corner hats. (view spoiler)


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Re how the story is being told: (view spoiler)


message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18233 comments Cherie wrote: "Tricia wrote: "I've never read anything by Anita Diamant so I'm really looking forward to this...."

We read her book, The Red Tent a few years ago, as a group read, I think."


We did indeed Cherie. I really enjoyed that book.


message 15: by Cherie (last edited Jul 02, 2018 02:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Great to hear, Sarah. It is probably why I had this one and other of hers on my TBR list. I did not realize it when I suggested it. It just sounded like an interesting story.

I am in the forest of Venezuela today but I will be back in Boston this evening.


message 16: by Renee (new) - rated it 1 star

Renee (elenarenee) | 1650 comments It did take me awhile to get used to the way the story was told


(view spoiler)


Tricia (triciareadsitall) | 849 comments Renee wrote: "It did take me awhile to get used to the way the story was told


[spoilers removed]"


I think I'm finally starting to get used to it, but (view spoiler)


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments I never made it to Boston yesterday, but today I am reading the chapter titled I thought I was in love. (view spoiler)


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Oh, my spoiler tags are open. Gah-I can't fix them because I'm on the mobile app and my laptop is at work. Janice or Peggy or Sarah- can you remove my previous post. I don't think they are major spoilers except for maybe about Celia. Darn!!!!


Peggy (pebbles84) | 15663 comments This is Cherie's post

I finished 30 pages this afternoon.
Ha! I was right about (view spoiler) in I Thought I was in love.

(view spoiler)


message 21: by Peggy (last edited Jul 04, 2018 12:08AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15663 comments Cherie wrote: "Oh, my spoiler tags are open. Gah-I can't fix them because I'm on the mobile app and my laptop is at work. Janice or Peggy or Sarah- can you remove my previous post. I don't think they are major sp..."

I deleted it but saved your text (see post above) so it's not lost.

Probably not new information, but you can also access the actual site on your mobile phone and it has all the functionalities. The buttons are tiny, but for just adding a spoiler or deleting something it works :)


Tricia (triciareadsitall) | 849 comments Cherie wrote: "I never made it to Boston yesterday, but today I am reading the chapter titled I thought I was in love. [spoilers removed]"
This chapter strikes me as timeless. Lessons learned here can still be relevant today, 100 years later. (view spoiler)


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Thank you, Peggy, for removing my post and reposting it fixed.

I never tried to access the site on-line on my iPod. I never thought of it. I don't have a smart phone though. I might have to check out the Internet version on my tablet. I think I tried once but the settings kept taking me to the Android mobile app, which I had already loaded.
I usually go online on my laptop but I left it at work yesterday, since I was only going to be off for one day.

I will try to be more careful with my posts. I think I left off one of bracketed symbols. I was trying to show the chapter titles in bold and then my comments. I pushed the post button before I rechecked everything. Bad Cherie!


message 24: by Roz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roz | 3971 comments I've been remiss in posting my thoughts. But I've been writing them down as I read.

Mameh: (view spoiler)
Mr. Levine:(view spoiler)
Celia: (view spoiler)


message 25: by Roz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roz | 3971 comments I love the parts where old customs/superstitions appear. Like “Rain is what brings luck”. Years ago, my husband and I bought a car. It rained the day we picked it up. My husband said it was good to get the car in the rain. It would bring luck. I’d never heard that one before. It must have been true. We had the car for about 15 years. The book (so far) is full of old world superstitions. Smacking across the face when a girl got her period for the first time, putting a red string on doorknobs to keep out the evil eye.


message 26: by Roz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roz | 3971 comments How do you go on after that? It seems that in the past few years (view spoiler)

I was still gun-shy about men Everybody is trying to find someone for Addie. What is she now, 18-19? It isn't like she an old maid. Makes me laugh.


Heather I can't believe how poor some people were when they first came to the United States. It reminds me how lucky I was to grow up in a small town with my own room and always good food. I did pick beans one summer for spending money. But that was easy when you compare.


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Roz wrote: "I've been remiss in posting my thoughts. But I've been writing them down as I read.

Mameh: [spoilers removed]
Mr. Levine:[spoilers removed]
Celia: Celia not marrying for love but Mameh says she’l..."


Mameh - I agree!
Mr. Levine - good recap and thanks for the info on the different states of the faith and where they came from.
Celia - I thought all of the same things. (view spoiler)


message 29: by Tricia (last edited Jul 06, 2018 07:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tricia (triciareadsitall) | 849 comments Roz wrote: "How do you go on after that? It seems that in the past few years [spoilers removed]I was still gun-shy about men Everybody is trying to find someone for Addie. What is she now, 18-19? It isn't like..."

Thanks for the flu statistics, Roz. I knew it had been more of a problem in the past, but I had no idea how bad it was. (view spoiler)


Heather Good story, but are we going anywhere with it? Slow read for me. :(


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Sorry it is slow for you, Heather. Sometimes the group reads are not what you really like, but they expose us to different authors and genre and sometimes the remove from a cherished comfort zone can open up new opportunities for book selections and future reading. We are all different in our likes and however slow it is for you, to someone else, it will be right on target.

Please do not think I am criticizing you. I am not at all. You are totally entitled to your opinion and we are all willing to listen. Is there something specifically in the story that made it so slow for you? I think you are reacting to a lack of plot. Is this correct?

I have not really gotten into it as far as some of the rest of you, but I will be catching up soon. I almost tripped over Tricia's spoiler, but I stopped in time. ;o)


Heather Cherie wrote: "Sorry it is slow for you, Heather. Sometimes the group reads are not what you really like, but they expose us to different authors and genre and sometimes the remove from a cherished comfort zone c..."

You are right....being in book clubs does expose us to all different types of topics and that is why I participate. There were parts of it I did enjoy, especially her friendships. But, the next one we read could become one of my favorites. It's all good!! Ps....I enjoy quilting too.


message 33: by Clive (last edited Jul 07, 2018 10:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Clive Matthews | 225 comments Hi all, I've only recently joined this group but I've been trying to throw myself into things (I hope that's ok) and decided to read this book as it is something that I probably wouldn't have looked at twice otherwise.

Like others have said I'm finding the writing style slightly strange. It feels as though the author is creating such a fascinating world, and in particular really well written characters with a lot of detail but when the asides to the Granddaughter appear it pulls you out of this very sharply. However I'm finding the book very interesting despite what I had originally thought.

I particularly liked the early descriptions of experiencing things for the first time such as (view spoiler) in 'What are friends for?'. It reminded me of how many things we see and experience every day and take for granted but that there was once a time when these things were enough to totally change our perspective.

Tricia - it's funny you mention the newspaper hats being used as boats. The book I am reading for the monthly challenge is It which opens with a boy playing with a newspaper boat. It's amaing the coincidences that you can find between different things in this way!


Tricia (triciareadsitall) | 849 comments Cherie wrote: "Sorry it is slow for you, Heather. Sometimes the group reads are not what you really like, but they expose us to different authors and genre and sometimes the remove from a cherished comfort zone c..."

Sorry, Cherie, I'm glad I didn't spoil it for you. I'll be more aware in the future and make sure I add chapter titles or some other identifying information to show where I am in the book.


message 35: by Roz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roz | 3971 comments I finished the book yesterday. It was an okay book but nothing special for me. I enjoyed the Yiddish asides and the peek into the immigrant experience. Sometimes the translations of the Yiddish were incorrect (from my experience) like a Yenta is a gossip not a matchmaker that's "Shadchan" and an "alter kocker" is literally an "old shitter" or elderly person, but not necessarily a retiree. But I didn’t really connect to the characters. It was the story of an immigrant’s life and that’s fine. Maybe it was the way it was written (more like a monologue/interview without the other voice) that left me flat. I think that’s what it was – flat. Good character development depends on an interaction between characters, more points of view. But it read like a list of events. We learned about the supporting characters as part of Addie’s chronicle of events so that they came across paper thin. 3 stars.


Heather Roz wrote: "I finished the book yesterday. It was an okay book but nothing special for me. I enjoyed the Yiddish asides and the peek into the immigrant experience. Sometimes the translations of the Yiddish wer..."

I'm glad I'm not alone. I was starting to feel like there was something wrong with me. When I finished I couldn't find the right word....flat is the word.


Tricia (triciareadsitall) | 849 comments I finished it, too, and I agree with a lot of what Roz said. I did enjoy many of the characters though and the ways in which they interacted with each other from Addie's point of view.

The ending:
(view spoiler)


message 38: by siriusedward (last edited Jul 08, 2018 07:33PM) (new) - added it

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 887 comments I just started this.I am liking the flow of the book.Its and easy read.With it being natted in first person,I was a bit worried whether I would like it or not.
This is my first book by the author.I have read many reviews saying that The Red Tent is a very good book.Much better than this.


Clive Matthews | 225 comments I finished the book this morning and actually really enjoyed it (perhaps because my expectations going into it were very low).

I lost all of my Grandparents in my early teens and this book left me with the feeling of the lost opportunity to learn more about their lives. I think if they were still alive (or if I had been able to read this book 20 years ago) I would have immediately been pestering my Grandparents with lots of questions about their early lives.

The other point that really stuck with me was the relationship between the narrator and her mother. (view spoiler) I'd be interested in what other people thought about this.

Finally I was wondering what timeframe people thought the actual narration took place over? It seemed to me as though it was done in one long stream of conciousness but this is maybe because I read it in a short period. If this is the case however I think there is a (very minor) continuity error. (view spoiler) As I say, it's only a very small thing but it did make me wonder whether maybe the narration had taken place over a much longer period.


Tricia (triciareadsitall) | 849 comments Nice catch, Clive. I felt as though this narration took place in a relatively short amount of time as well, but I completely missed the error in continuity you pointed out. You're absolutely right, though, and I'm trying to decide if it changes my opinion on the length of the narration at all. I don't think it does; I'm going with an error rather than deliberately placed details.


message 41: by Cherie (last edited Jul 10, 2018 11:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments I read several chapters tonight, from I Figure God Created Margaret Sanger, Too through If I Wasn't so Busy, I would Have Felt Sorry For Myself . Unfortunately, I'm on my tablet using the updated Android mobile app, and reading the book in ebook format is going to be a problem. If I press the back arrow, it jumps me out off the discussion thread. Good news is that I can see the spoilers, BUT, they are all open. I can't tell if it is because I have already read them all earlier in the day or what. I haven't found a thread that has a new spoiler yet. I am going to post one and see what happens.

Margaret Sanger (view spoiler)
Betty (view spoiler)
War (view spoiler)
flu (view spoiler)
too busy to be sorry (view spoiler)


Heather Sarah wrote: "One of the group reads for July is The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant. Please discuss the book in this thread.

Cherie will be leading the discussion.

In order to re..."

I have finished the book and as I had mentioned before, it isn't a favorite of mine. It is still early in the month so I will hide my review so I don't spoil it for any one. I did listen to it on audio.

Likes: The narrator was Linda Lavin and she had a perfect voice for Addie, the Boston accent and all. (view spoiler)

Dislikes: (view spoiler)

This isn't my normal genre to read, so my review is somewhat tainted by my need for a plot, climax and an ending.
****

Sarah, is this more of what you are looking for?


message 43: by Roz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roz | 3971 comments Leaving stones on gravestones is a Jewish tradition (I don't know if other religions/cultures do it). We leave a stone to show that we were there. It can be any stone, brought from home or picked up off the ground in the cemetery. I've sometimes wondered what happens to the stones. Whenever I've revisited, they're gone. I guess the cemetery grounds keepers just brush them off.


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Thank you, Heather. I will not read your review or spoilers until after I finish the book. :o)

I used to work with a woman who grew up in Boston, so I understand what you mean about the accent. I might look and see if my library has the audio book available, just to hear it again. My friend from work, retired and passed away over ten years ago. We used to have great pot-luck luncheons that she loved to organize, and on Saint Patrick's Day, she always mad a cake with green frosting for the group to share. Here name was Maureen.


Cherie (crobins0) | 20856 comments Roz wrote: "Leaving stones on gravestones is a Jewish tradition (I don't know if other religions/cultures do it). We leave a stone to show that we were there. It can be any stone, brought from home or picked u..."

Thank you, Roz. I had never heard of it before.


Laura (Lclwags) (lclwags) | 618 comments Cherie wrote: "I read several chapters tonight, from I Figure God Created Margaret Sanger, Too through If I Wasn't so Busy, I would Have Felt Sorry For Myself . Unfortunately, I'm on my tablet using the updated A..."

Cherie,
I only knew who Margaret Sanger was because it was on an episode of Drunk History. (view spoiler)


message 47: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18233 comments Thanks Heather! Yes that's great. In discussions of course we are going to say if we're enjoying or not liking a book but ideally we want more of a discussion than that otherwise it's no more than a status update, hence why I asked for a little more input. Books discussions only work when people discuss the book, which is why we reward people for discussing the book as opposed to just reading the book like with the monthly challenges. Feel free to check back in throughout the month to see what other people think of the book and comment if you want. I know those late to the discussion are always grateful when people continue discussing the book even after they've finished it. Shame you didn't enjoy it all that much. Fingers crossed for the next group read!


message 48: by Renee (new) - rated it 1 star

Renee (elenarenee) | 1650 comments Roz I know what happens to the stones, lazy people like me move them to our grave sites.


Roz wrote: "Leaving stones on gravestones is a Jewish tradition (I don't know if other religions/cultures do it). We leave a stone to show that we were there. It can be any stone, brought from home or picked u..."


message 49: by Roz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roz | 3971 comments Ahhh, so it’s you! ; )


Laura (Lclwags) (lclwags) | 618 comments I'm almost halfway through the book. Just starting I Was Still Gun-Shy About Men .
Flow of the book - (view spoiler)
What are friends for - (view spoiler)
I thought I was in love and It was my fault - (view spoiler)
Mameh - (view spoiler)
The Quick brown Fox... - (view spoiler)
Mr. Levine - (view spoiler)


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You'll love this one...!! A book club & more

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Red Tent (other topics)
It (other topics)
The Boston Girl (other topics)
Coal River (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Anita Diamant (other topics)