Tuesday, May 3, 2016

#Book #Review and #GIVEAWAY! "Modern Girls" by Jennifer S Brown until 5-12!


An atmospheric new work of historical fiction takes readers into New York City’s 1935 lower East Side Jewish immigrant community, where two women faced with an impossible choice will confront tradition, expectations—and themselves . . .
Set in 1935 against the backdrop of World War II’s ominous approach, MODERN GIRLS follows the interlocking narratives of fierce, industrious nineteen-year-old Dottie Krasinsky, and her mother, Rose.
Though Dottie lives with her traditional Yiddish-speaking parents, she’s as modern as a 1930’s girl can get: she has just been promoted as head bookkeeper at a glittering midtown office, plans to marry her swoon-worthy boyfriend Abe, but still dreams of a home ripped from the pages of Better Homes & Gardens. But after a fight with Abe, and a single careless night with the charismatic but unsuitable Willie, Dottie finds herself in the family way. Desperate, she is unwed, unsure, and running out of options.
Meanwhile, as news of Jewish persecution in Europe spreads, Rose longs to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman in Russia. But when she finds herself pregnant with a fifth child, she wrestles with profound disappointment at being forced to once again set aside political work, even as her brother remains trapped in Poland.

As both mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, and the changing world around them. What they choose to do next will yield astonishing lessons about what truly lies in each woman’s heart. Only one thing is for sure: neither will ever be the same again.

My Take:
3.5 Stars
One thing I thought was really neat about this book, Modern Girls, is it will really appeal to young ladies and women of the Jewish faith and/or culture or both because of this author’s use of the complete dedication to it. The author had to be Jewish, or had to have done a LOT of research in order to write about it the way she did. I would have to say this is her faith and culture because she knew everything about it and it just rolled onto the page as she was writing. To be honest, I have NEVER come across a book about an American Jewish family like this one, and the more people of this faith/culture talk about it, it is going to appeal to so many more young adults and women as finally having a book that is dedicated to them! Koodles to this author for this book and appealing to so many more people that don't often get books written/dedicated completely to them!
Although, I have to admit I was lost in so many places because I don’t have a clue as to almost anything Jewish, especially the Yiddish that was spoken in their homes or not. Maybe more people than your average person could pick this book up and know what it is the author was talking about, but I was not able to understand a lot of what was said or going on in many places in the book with the characters and at events because I just don’t know the faith and culture at ALL. Where I am from, we just don't have this culture anywhere near where I live, so it was neat trying to figure it out. I can just imagine, though, how excited so many other people will be with the realization of this book, to be able to relate to so MANY of the Jewish references, the religion and the culture! They are going to REALLY be excited! Again, this is amazing for them!
So Dottie AND her mother are in the family way. Both of them are keeping their pregnancies a secret even from each other and then the family, of course. Yes, it is 1935 and THEY USE THIS TERM EVEN IF YOU ARE MARRIED! “In the family way!” Pathetic, I know! It irks me so! (This is SO HARD for myself because I was a modern woman of the 90's when I was pregnant and had my kids, and I was NOT in the family way! I was pregnant!) Boy, it's hard to image ALL the decades it was thought of as being "in the family way". What did they expect, but HOW was it 'in the way?' So abortion is NOT legal, yet, but it IS an option if you know someone in some back alley apartments/offices. (Scary!) Once Dottie’s mother finds out what happened to her, she is adamant that Dottie visit a place that can take care of the pregnancy and make it disappear. She is only thinking Dottie won't be stuck without having reached the dreams she had for herself, but I wonder most of all if she was concerned more with what other people thought about her daughter AND herself that that was the driving force behind that. Pathetic, I say. Or, maybe her mother had an issue with her and her daughter both being pregnant at the same time and children of the same age? Nah, all she wanted was her freedom, and she thought she had her freedom, and the pregnancy ruined that, ruined it AGAIN for the next 20 years - AGAIN! By the time this child was ready to fly the nest she would be 62 when she was 42 right now. I sure did not like her. Just think. Today there are things that can be done to prevent that. Things like that really mattered then, too, and things like that really mattered as late as into the 1980's as I watched some of my friends and my own family go through things just like that. A very close girlfriend of mine got 'in the family way', and they made sure they got married - a shotgun wedding! It's just not until recently that this was not the end of the world for single women, the 90's! Oh, my!
So Dottie is beside herself over just the thought of what her mother suggested! Her mother wore girdles and did anything she could to hide that baby bump. She got away with it, too. Ugh! Dottie, however, was not so lucky. Her baby bump was noticed and the CITY was talking about it! Dottie’s long-time boyfriend, Abe, refuses Dottie as he is not the baby’s biological father and cannot be fooled into making him think he is. This really hurt Dottie. Both of these women have this huge issue to deal with. You’ll have to see how this turns out. From two women who lived during that time and did NOT talk with each other, never confiding in each other what they were going through, and suffered individually, by the end of the book had a special mother/daughter bond which only you can understand it based upon your own experiences from when you were that age IF you lived at home.
I did feel this book was a bit too long, the author was saying the same thing over and over again and again especially the entire first half of the book and it seeped a little into the second half of this book. Nothing much happened. Back in 1935, in order to avoid pregnancy, there was not much you could do for yourself except to abstain from sex if you did not want to get pregnant, but according to the Jewish religion, Friday night was ‘the night’ for intimacy with your husband. Dottie’s mother had to allow her husband, according to the Jewish faith, (this part was explained) to make love to her because she is his wife. I got the impression the wife didn’t really matter or have any type of role here. She was not thought about much as a woman here, but just enough that the husband was satisfied. This book was a little bit of a culture shock! Comparing 1935 to 2016, 1935 was VERY uptight!
Enjoy this book! There is so much more to it! I received this book for FREE and I thank the Publisher, Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley in exchange to read and write a review about it. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to do so, but just to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it and giving my own honest opinion no matter whether it is positive or negative. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the law set here: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html The Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, 16 CFR 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising Federal Acquisition Regulation.



  1. Great review. I actually really liked this one -- you could feel the desperation and I thought the author did an awesome job for a debut!

    my review

    1. Hi Eva,
      Yes, you're right! I don't know why it didn't occur to me to include the part about the real feel of desperation? You are helping bring out the good parts about a book review that I missed talking about. I know in my head what I want to say, and I say it to a degree, but I missed writing 'the feeling of desperation the two women both had'. You are right about that. You have taught me something with pointing things out like that, and I thank you! However, this book was just a 50/50 for me b/c I felt it took forever for things to work out. It took me forever to read this because it wasn't compelling enough for me to want to pick it back up again, and maybe I should have said that in the review because if you realized it was only 1935, those were STILL the stone ages for women! Only NOW are we 'starting' to really make marks! We STILL have areas we need to make better for ourselves, and hopefully NO ONE will take away the right to choose about our OWN bodies as is ALWAYS threatened! Essentially, we ARE still at the mercy of most MEN when it comes to that, too, STILL! We do NOT have enough women in Congress standing up for women's rights, and if I could, I WOULD do it, but in another lifetime if we get them! (I can't do anything like that with this neuro muscle disease) and especially this late in the game. I never would have made a good lawyer! I can't argue! I am glad about that, though! We don't need people angry and arguing but more people who care in this world!
      Not loving this book probably didn't help that I didn't understand what the Jewish terms stood for, and perhaps if the author had a 'key' we could look at in front or in the back of the book that would have made the book feel more compelling for me, emotionally. I didn't want to keep having to look them up online, either, I just felt I should be able to enjoy what I was reading, but could not entirely.
      You and I often feel and rate the same books differently! It's great to see that! If there were not people who did not agree about the same books, then reading could become boring when talking about it!
      I appreciate your thoughts and stopping by! Now I get to come read your review! I'll be over!


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