I had read The Red Tent by this author and liked the historical detail of ancient Jerusalem in that one. In this one set in 1900 Boston and moving forward eighty five years, we find the same attention to detail which seems to be a mark of Diamant's books and her success.
Addie is recounting her life story to her grand daughter starting from the time of the arrival of her immigrant parents and how difficult it was for them to put down roots and how suspicious they were of anything modern that America had to offer.
For Addie who was vibrant, intelligent and curious it was an uphill battle to get an education against a mother who was only interested that her daughters earn some money, and then get married as quickly as possible. Getting an education, going to college was beyond her understanding and she certainly made no bones about what her feelings were on the subject. She tyrannized not just her daughter Addie but also Celia who was so submissive that she just gave in to everything and everyone and even Betty the sassy one, who gave her lip, left home to work in a departmental store and who was certainly no pushover.
Addie's success at her studies, her love affair which did not turn out well, her marriage which was a stable one and the progress that has been made for women from 1900 to the present 1985 is the subject of this story. A coming of age book of women from a great grandmother to the grandmother the narrator of this story to the present grandchild who is now going to become a rabbi which for Addie is a huge achievement for womenkind.
I really like these stories. The story of survival in the first instance, invariable immigrants are escaping pogroms, persecution, civil unrest. They come to another country as aliens - no language skills, totally different in looks, food and temperament, they assimilate, they do well, they progress, and one thing they all do, they educate their children!!!!
Loved this one which was a book downloaded from the Edelweiss site.