Title: Modern Girls
Author: Jennifer S. Brown
Publish Date: April 5, 2016
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "In 1935, Dottie
Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown
Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her
girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she
is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the
Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds
herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is
desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.
the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s
immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she
embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and
National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work
to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is
pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith.
As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are
forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that
their lives will never again be the same…."
My Two Cents:
"Modern Girls" starts out a little slowly and I was not sure how I was going to like the book. When we first meet Dottie, she seems a little naive and almost a little stuck-up. She fancies herself a modern woman, much more modern than her immigrant parents who she thinks are too stuck in their old country ways. When Dottie finds herself pregnant, she realizes that the world is not nearly as modern as she fancies it to be. Dottie's mother, Rose, finds herself in a situation that she doesn't want to be in. This is a story of mothers and daughters and once it got going, it blew me away. This book is full of secrets and the things that bind families together.
I really didn't like Dottie at first for some of the reasons listed in the first paragraph. I really liked how the author was able to show her growth. At the beginning of the book, Dottie is really only thinking about herself. She is very self centered. She believes that her smarts and her way with numbers will get her out of her parents' apartment and into her beau's (Abe) arms. The author quickly shows us that the best laid plans don't always get you to where you want to go.
Rose is fascinating too. She already feels like she has accomplished so much from escaping the old country. But she is still an outsider here. She spends time mostly with others who lived near her in the old country. Her English still leaves something to be desired. She is the matron of the house and she feels constrained. After taking care of so many children, she is hardly ready to start over. It was fascinating to watch her struggle with the decisions at the core of the book!
There are so many twists and turns in this book and I loved how the author kept me on my toes throughout the book. I was so pulled in by Dottie, Rose, their relationship, and the decisions they have to make. The relationship between a mother and daughter is incredibly beautiful and intricate. I thought the author did such a great job of capturing the beauty and the difficulty! What a memorable book! There seems that there could be a sequel, which I will ardently be hoping for!