Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little Bride: Book Review




The Little Bride
By Anna Solomon



The Little Bride, is about Minna Losk, 16 year old, living in Odessa, the old country.  She wants to leave the old country for a better life in America, as a mail order bride. 
When she is little her mother leaves the family, and her father works in the coal mines, where he eventually dies tragically.  Minna is forced as a young child to work as a maid sevant.

She then decides to become a mail order bride. She dreams of a wealthy life, with a wealthy husband and a beautiful house.

But, when she arrives to America she is sadly mistaken.  She arrives to be picked up by her to-be-husband teenage son, Jacob. When she meets Max, her to-be-husband, all her dreams are shattered.   Max is a strict religious Jew, much older than her, penniless, and a shabby house.

She was hoping to be living in NYC, in a beautiful house, instead she is in a desolute plains of "Sodokata".  Max, has signed a contract called the Am Olam. This is a movement of Jews go out of the crowded city of New York, and move west to become farmers.

When she arrives, she finds Max, has two strapping teen age sons, the same age as her. She is attracted  to his son, Samuel. 

After a few weeks she marries Max, and settles into the life, and accepts what happens to her.
But, when the winter arrives, she realizes the hardship, and difficulties she is against during the grueling winter.

My Thoughts:  I wanted to like Little Bride, especially since I had communicated with her.  I feel pretty bad, about this review, since I communicated with the author. I have heard from others, that they liked. But, everyone has different taste. 

 Unfortunately, I could not find anything I liked about it. I  The novel felt like a romance novel I used to read years ago. The novel was predictable, I was hoping for a better story, with intrigue, and depth. Most books, I read I like to read something new.  I hope to learn something. 

When I was reading this, I was seeing the TV show, Little House on the Prarie. I wanted something original.  I read a book, a few years ago called Away by Amy Bloom. In the beginning it reminded me of that same novel. The hardship the young girl goes through. But, that is where it ends.  In Away, I cared about the characters, this story I did not like any of the characters, and I could not connect with the story or the characters. There was something missing.

There was one part of the book, some of the scenes were far fetched. One part of the story when Minna marries Max, she is hidden by a lace scarf through out the ceremony, and into the dinner. That is far fetched.

I recently went to my first  Jewish orthodox wedding. It is true that the bride's face is covered. But, after the ceremony the lace covering is taken off. 

In the book, it is covered the entire time, and she dribbled everything all over her. I think after that, I really lost it.  Books, don't have to be entirely accurate for a historical novel, but it just lost it for me after.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What We Have: Book Review


What We Have
By Amy Boesky

What We Have is the story of a family of women. Most of the women in the family are predisposed to ovarian cancer, this haunts the author constantly.

  Amy is a young woman in her thirties, she is a professor at a top college. She is on a time clock, because she is worried for herself, and her sisters. She is recently married, and would like to have children right away. Because if she waits she realizes she may not be able to have children. She is worried that she will succumb to Ovarian Cancer, like the rest of her family.

 Amy's mother had Ovarian treatment long ago.  She then went on with her life. But, researchers, were not aware of is, that just because you were "CURED" of Ovarian Cancer, doesn't mean that you can't get another cancer, Breast cancer. 

Amy and her sisters,and father watched their mother succumb to the disease. There was nothing that could be done. She eventually passed away.

After her mother's death, Amy and her sisters had to decide if they wanted the blood test for the gene BRCA1 and BRCA2. If they find out the results are positive, do they go further with this and have the surgery to prevent the spread of cancer? What about their children? grandchildren? Sons?

My Thoughts: When I saw this memoir, I knew I had to read this. This story is my story in certain ways.  My Mother, Grandmother, and Great Aunt all have a history of breast cancer. My Grandma and Great Aunt both had Mastectomies, and lived on for many more years. My Mother had a lump removed from her breast and had lympthectomy done on that side of the breast. For me, in my forties I had a benign biopsy, so far nothing yet has developed. But, I am waiting.

 The memoir, does not take place now, this happened in the 1980's. This story is not just about the disease.  But, also how the family coped with their predisposition to the illness, as well as their mother succumbing to the illness, and her eventual death.   But about the close knit family, and how they coped with their mother's illness. How they became closer and what they did with their knowledge about the disease.

After I read this memoir, I wondered to myself about my family's predisposition of breast cancer. My I would not have the test to determine if I am predisposed to breast cancer. I also would not have the preventive surgery either.

I also thought of my brother's, even though it seems it runs on the female side. It also seems that there is a high percentage of prostate cancer that sons could get it. Also Jewish families. 

The first 100 pages, I did not love the book. She was talking about marriage and babies. I was not interested. I was hoping the memoir was about women that are previvors. But, the book changed after to what I was looking for.  I  am happy that I continued on to  read this book. 

If you want to read more about the illness, you can visit the author's website. There are a few articles. This book is good for book discussions.  To discuss the illness, with your families, and sisters.  Good book to read alongs with family members( sisters, mothers etc.). I had a good discussion with my mother about this book.

I would recommend this to many people I know.


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