- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Berkley (April 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 045147712X
- ISBN-13: 978-0451477125
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Modern Girls Paperback – April 5, 2016
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“Brown deftly sketches the historical context of two Lower East Side women's domestic tribulations, alternating between their stories, reflecting upon the social consequences faced by women in different generations…A clear-eyed view of the sharp, difficult choices facing women on the cusp of equality.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A moving debut, portraying the sacrifices a mother and daughter make in order to save face for their family.”—Booklist
“A thought-provoking story about parents and their children.”—PopSugar
“The novel is not only a nostalgic portrait of an earlier era but a feminist reminder of how limited and circumscribed were women’s opportunities and choices just a few generations ago…Satisfying both emotionally and narratively…Its suspenseful plot and warm emotional tone should appeal to a wide audience.”—New York Journal of Books
“With its compelling storyline, a well-researched historical setting, protagonists who are authentic and strong, and beautifully written prose, Modern Girls is, without a doubt, one of my favorite books of 2016 to date. The story drew me in from the very opening pages, and I was reluctant to let go of the characters once I finished the book. I predict it has a bright future as a book club favorite.”—Historical Novels Review
“Well-researched and thought-provoking...[Readers] will get a deeper understanding of Jewish culture that can be applied to any immigrant background.”—WorkingMother.com
“Brown pens the story of a Jewish immigrant mother and unmarried daughter, both pregnant and neither planning on it, in 1930s New York City. The result is a thought-provoking tale of parents and children and the sacrifices they make for one another. Exploring our dreams and choices and the way they intersect to form our lives, Modern Girls is a heartwarming, haunting and memorable debut.”—Pam Jenoff, international bestselling author of The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach
“Be prepared to lose yourself in a mother-daughter tale unlike any other. With one generation entrenched in the old world and the other struggling to make her way in the new, Brown expertly handles the complex nuances of family secrets guarded along with impossible choices made in the name of love and honor. Original and unique, you’ll find yourself rooting for Dottie and Rose the whole way through.”—Renee Rosen, author of White Collar Girl
About the Author
Jennifer S. Brown has published fiction and creative nonfiction in Fiction Southeast, The Best Women’s Travel Writing, The Southeast Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, and the Bellevue Literary Review, among other places. Her essay “The Codeine of Jordan” was selected as a notable essay in The Best American Travel Writing in 2012. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Washington.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dottie becomes pregnant by a young man named Willie with who she had slept with only once, despite the fact she is engaged to another young man named Abe. When all attempts to arrive at a solution fail, her mother steps in and convinces her to have an abortion. But plans often go awry and for both these women, the answer to their problems arise unexpectantly and is not what they had originally planned. Their plights in the restrictive era in which they live rendered this tale poignant and heart-wrenching.
The first third of the story is definitely interesting, but a little slow paced. Once the groundwork was laid, however, the plot became engaging and interesting and I was fully immersed, eager to read on to learn what came next.
The story is based on the Jewish religion and adds a strong flavor to the story. The use of Yiddish words in italics sometimes pulled me from the story to look up their meanings, but added learning and authenticity. A glossary would have been helpful and I hope the publisher has added it to the final sale version of the book.
Rosie and Dottie portray a profound love for each other, one in which will bind them forever. The ending is only the finale of part 1 of the story. It will obviously be continued with a sequel. I eagerly look forward to it as it will take reader into Europe and the dangers of World War II and the risks Dottie will face.
Definitely a 5 star read - wonderful Women's Historical Fiction. I recommend it for mothers and daughters and for book clubs.
Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog, [...], where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit [...].
As a lover of language trivia, I was pleased to see this word many times, but if you love language in any way you'll love reading this book. The author tries a very difficult trick: making eighty year old speech patterns sound fresh, while also mixing in foreign words, and multiple first-person points of view. It could have been a mess, but it is actually a delight to read.
The story is as fascinating as the language. The book might be classified as historical fiction, but the subject matter could not be more modern and relevant. Setting it in pre-war immigrant New York allows the reader to reexamine their opinions in a way that a contemporary novel could not. I don't think anybody is going to change their opinion as a result of reading this book, but you may well have a little more empathy coming out of it than you did going in.
This book will inevitably be marketed heavily towards women, partly because of the subject matter, and partly because women just seem to read a lot more fiction than men. I wish that weren't the case. As a 40 year old man, I found this book to be as worth reading as anything by my favorite male authors.
Oh, and for the trivia lovers, the answer appears 27 times throughout the book, the first time on page 3.
Rose and Dottie Krasinksy both face unexpected, unwanted pregnancies. Rose believes her childbearing days are complete. Dottie, who has the gift of mathematics, has just received a promotion at work. In addition, Dottie’s Beau, Abe, continues to promise to marry her in near future once he has enough money for their own place to live; however, a single night of passion with another man, changes Dottie’s life. Both main characters, Rose and Dottie, feel like they could be your friends. They have hopes and dreams and make good and poor decisions. While reading, I often thought about my own 19-year-old daughter, thanking god, that whatever happens to her in her own life, she will not have the restricted choices of generations before her.
Drawn into both characters, Rose and Dottie, I truly hope that Jennifer Brown completes the story with a sequel as the book left you hanging as both main characters move forward towards their new life. An amazing book for book clubs, mother-daughter reads or simple an enjoyable summer novel……Modern Girls will grab you immediately and keep you wanting more.