October Book Group–“Meet Rebecca”

Hello everyone!  I’ve missed our little book chats, I’m glad to get back to doing these.  This month the book to discuss is “Meet Rebecca”.  Let’s get started!

For me, this book was okay but didn’t impress me a bunch.  I guess the best way to describe it is it’s too formulaic.  Maybe I’m being a bit harsh as a good bit of the book is spent explaining some of the Jewish words and customs to the reader, and that isn’t a bad thing, but it lacks some of the good story telling that I’ve encountered in some of the other books like Meet Kit and Meet Marie-Grace simply because it would have made the book way too long.

I did like the way Rebecca decided to earn some money and how she had a change of heart in what to do with the money.  I also liked her Bubbie and her frequent comments about how things were changing which I imagine were common issues for people of her generation who came to the United States.  Just being uprooted from ones homeland and then experiencing many of the enormous changes the world was going through at that time in history had to be a very traumatic and scary experience for many of the immigrants.  It reminded me of a woman who I used to know whose family immigrated to the US from Germany right around the time of World War II.  The story she told about how her parents mailed money and clothes to family there so that they could celebrate a family wedding there in conjunction with the event here in the US was fascinating to me.  It was a great example of the family ties crossing the ocean, much the way they did with Rebecca’s family trying to figure out how to get some of their family out of danger in Russia.

The biggest downside to this book is the underlying story about the perils facing those still living in Russia.  Perhaps this is why this book was a let down to me as this is a part of history that I’ve done a lot of research about.  It would be very difficult to pay much attention to it in a book of this type as it would be a whole book in itself!  Plus I have to remind myself that these books are aimed at a grade school to middle school reader and it probably wouldn’t be all that interesting to them on a larger scale.  Hopefully it inspired some readers to go and do some research on their own as it’s a very complicated but interesting period in Russian history.

Overall, the book wasn’t horrible, but I found it hard to get excited about.  I do plan on reading the rest eventually though, and I’m hoping that we see more of Cousin Max and the annoying Leo.  I did get tired of hearing Rebecca continually complaining about not being allowed to do anything because she wasn’t old enough.  Maybe it was just me though.

What did you think of “Meet Rebecca”?

The book for November will be “Aloha, Kanani”.  We will be taking December off due to the holidays and will resume in January.  I will give the book list for the first part of 2018 next month so everyone has time to locate them. 

7 thoughts on “October Book Group–“Meet Rebecca”

  1. I liked this book but thought it was a little short. I didn’t mind Rebecca’s complaining about not being able to do things as I felt she was the odd man out in her family. The twins seemed to be a unit and her two brothers seemed to get along, leaving her by herself. I did like the concern she had for her cousin in Russia even though she had never met her. Deciding to use her money to help her family instead of using it for herself was a good lesson for the age group this book was intended.

    I liked that the author used actual places in New York City. Orchard street was mentioned several times. There is a museum in New York on Orchard Street called The Tenement Museum which depicts life in New York City during several eras. There is one tour of several apartments owned by two Jewish families at the turn of the century. During that time that part of New York was very densely populated. My husband and I toured the museum and found it very interesting. The apartments are set up as they would have been. The two families involved were in the garment industry which is similar to Rebecca’s father’s business. It makes you realize how hard it was for immigrants coming here and trying to make a living for their families. I don’t think I would have fared very well during that time. I would recommend going to The Tenement Museum if you are in New York.

    • That’s very interesting, I will have to remember that the next time we are in NYC. We are always looking for new things to do since we’ve done all of the typically touristy stuff!

  2. I think the first book skims across the top of things to give you a foundation then might get deeper into the history as the story progresses. At least that’s how I envision it. I haven’t read the entire series yet.

    Overall, I really liked the story and the parts at the end with the real photos. While reading I would think of Fiddler on the Roof.

    My full review and “the girls'” thoughts are here:
    https://teatimewithmelodyq.blogspot.com/2014/01/happy-belated-national-reading-day.html

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