• XX Chromosomes

Review of Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown

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About Modern Girls

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.

After 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 Review

Fabulous book! I look forward to more from Brown. I do hope there is a sequel, I would love to discover what becomes of Dottie and Rose for that matter. I adored both Rose and Dottie equally.

I like the way Brown explored the intricate relationship of a mother-daughter. Having both struggling with similar issues under different circumstances was fantastic. The strong bond between mother-daughter was brilliantly presented, I felt Rose’s anguish as a mother as well as Dottie’s anguish as a daughter, the joys and sorrows, disappointments and successes fully displayed. Rose and Dottie were so transparent thanks to Brown’s skill with full-blown characterization. 1930’s New York well described along with Jewish tenement life.

As the narrative moved along I knew what was going to transpire because it made sense and suited the characters and the era. Having the narrative alternate between Dottie and Rose allows for both perspectives, brings you closer to protagonists. The obstacles, tough decisions women faced were affecting.

I was swept away with this story from the start, frantically turning the pages to find out the ending. I was saddened when I reached the end. I want more of these two fierce women, I want to know what happens!!

Kudos to Brown for such a stellar story!!

About Jennifer S. Brown

Jenny Brown, June 9, 2015.

Jenny Brown, June 9, 2015.

Jennifer S. Brown lives and writes in the suburbs of Boston. When she’s not writing, she’s running, reading, baking, and spending time with her husband and two kids.

Her fiction, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and she was the winner of the 2005 World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest (judged by Robert Olen Butler) in the Southeast Review. Her creative nonfiction piece, “The Codeine of Jordan,” published in the Bellevue Literary Review, was selected as a notable essay in 2012’s The Best American Travel Writing and included in volume 9 of The Best Women’s Travel Writing. MODERN GIRLS (NAL/Penguin) is her debut novel.

Published April 5th 2016 by NAL