This book is the first book to ever make me cry. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other books out there with sadness, longing, affection etc. to elicit strong emotion, but none of them brought tears and a lump in my throat like Jennifer S. Brown did in “Modern Girls.” Set in New York on the lower east side in 1935, this is the story of a mother and daughter who are so alike you wonder where one starts and the other stops.
Ben and Rose Krasinsky, are immigrants who came to the United States in 1914. Ben and Rose have brought up four beautiful, strong children. They have been through hardships like anyone else, but the good times are plentiful too. The family keep kosher, and Shabbes is strongly discussed within the text. Rose loves all of her children dearly, but Dottie is her only girl, so of course she wants only the best for her. But what can she expect when the best is no longer going to be available to Dottie? Rose does her best to fight for her daughter, but in doing so realizes she now has another fight within herself.
Dottie, the Krasinsky’s oldest child, has a bright future in front of her. She’s extremely intelligent in math and has just gotten a promotion of head book keeper for Dover Insurance. It doesn’t matter though, seeing as how Dottie has a bigger problem on her hands. She has a steady beau whom she wants to marry, and marry soon. But does his heart belong to another? And will he still love her if he finds out what she’s done?
Modern Girls, is a tale of troubles and triumph that will leave readers asking, how far would you go for the one your love, or for the right thing? And what if the “right thing” isn’t what you want? Chapters interweaving between mother and daughter, bringing together “Old World” and “New World,” with plenty of Yiddish words thrown in for emphasis, “Modern Girls” will have you turning the pages long after bedtime and will leave you with an ache in your heart.