This summer I read the book Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown, and I did a mini-review, but it was in the middle of another blog post, so here it is again:
Wow, wow, and wow! When the Jewish “modern girl” in 1935 New York gets accidentally knocked up, what’s she going to do? Especially since her 42-year-old mother is in the same situation. I feel like I got plopped down right in their little apartment and met all their friends and relatives. Everything about mothering felt genuine to me, too–all the ambivalence, the love, and the hard work. Overall, a remarkable read, fun without being candy, deep and thoughtful–treating some serious issues–without being a downer. I want more.
I went to her reading tonight at Phinney Books, and it was a blast. She pointed out the perk of writing a historical novel: you get to read a lot and it’s considered Respectable Official Work — at least after something gets published. She also talked with great enthusiasm about the period in question. And I learned the difference between Yiddish and Hebrew.
So a confession: I’m a bit biased here. We were in the MFA program twenty years ago. We moved to different states and lost touch, and separately struggled to a) write something good and b) publish it. We also gave birth to our kids at about the same time. Go figure. Anyway, for both of us, persistence does pay off.
It’s a great book. Go read it.
And by the way, if you’re reading this post and you live in Seattle, go get it from Phinney Books. I hear they have some copies.