Read Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown Online


A dazzling debut novel set in New York City’s Jewish immigrant community in 1935... How was it that out of all the girls in the office, I was the one to find myself in this situation? This didn’t happen to nice Jewish 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 herA dazzling debut novel set in New York City’s Jewish immigrant community in 1935... How was it that out of all the girls in the office, I was the one to find myself in this situation? This didn’t happen to nice Jewish 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…....

Title : Modern Girls
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780451477125
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Modern Girls Reviews

  • Jennifer S. Brown
    2019-03-09 12:16

    Okay, I didn't just read this book... I wrote it! And I'm pretty happy about that, too!

  • Abby Fabiaschi
    2019-02-25 12:06

    I am angry at Jennifer S. Brown for keeping up until one and then stealing an hour and a half of my work time this morning; I simply had to know what happened to Dottie. I enjoyed the novel from page 1, but by the time I was halfway through I became a reader obsessed. It's rare I leave a book hoping there will be a sequel, but I would certainly inhale another novel with Dottie. Author take note!

  • Suzanne Leopold
    2019-03-12 15:20

    Nineteen year old Dottie Krasinsky has it all; a great job in New York City, loving family, loyal friends, and a boyfriend. This great life may come undone because she is pregnant by another man. It is the 1930’s and there are very few options for a pregnant single woman. Dottie has not told her family and is beginning to panic.Rose Krasinsky, Dottie’s mother, is a Russian immigrant. She is in her early forties and is raising her family in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and is keeping it a secret from her family. She thought she was done with the childbearing years so this is an unwelcome surprise. She had planned to aid the war effort in Europe.Rose becomes aware of Dottie’s pregnancy and is not happy. She wanted her to pursue a career in accounting and a baby will derail these plans. Both women are carrying a heavy secret and are struggling with possible solutions. Each must confront their problems as the story unfolds. The book is narrated in alternating voices between mother and daughter by chapter. The characters are well developed and the relationship between mother/daughter is very realistic. You can feel the tension, frustration, love and concern that they have for one another. Beautifully documented, the author does a tremendous job of making you feel what it was like to live in New York City in the 1930’s.This is a debut novel by the author and I am hoping for a sequel.Giveaway on my blog until 12/9

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-23 14:10

    The year is 1935 and 6 members of the Krasinsky family in a 2 bedroom apartment in Mahattan's Lower East Side. Russian-born Rose is the 42 year-old matriarch, and her eldest child, 19-year old Rose, is a bookkeeper in an insurance office. Both find themselves pregnant with unwanted children."Modern Girls" provided an insightful portrait of a newly-arrived Jewish family, the relationship between a mother and daughter, and the choices women had (and didn't have) in the mid 1930's. While many books have been written about Europeans affected by the horrors of WWII (and the years leading up it), this book is one of the few that I've read that looks at those years through the eyes of American Jews who are just starting to see what might be on the horizon for their brothers and sisters across the ocean.4 stars

  • Melissa
    2019-03-13 12:56

    I had heard good things about Modern Girls, so when I suggested it to my book club, I was pleased that they were all interested to read it for our next meeting. And really, it’s the perfect book for my club, as we are all Jewish women and most of us are mothers, as well. The Orthodox customs and traditions spread throughout the novel are full of detail and would be easily understandable by someone who is not Jewish or observant. There are Yiddish words used a lot of the time, but explained, as well. For a debut novel, this was incredibly polished and well-written. I felt like I could see everything happening right in front of me. It wasn’t overwhelming in description, but gave enough for easy visualization. The characters were complex and sympathetic, even though their circumstances were less than ideal and they had to make difficult and, sometimes, heartbreaking choices. I kept forgetting Rose was close in age to me, but when I was a kid I thought my parents were old at the age I currently am at and now they seem too young to be grandparents. Go figure! All I know is that I’m glad to be the age I am in the present time. I couldn’t imagine doing all Rose had to do for her family. I definitely take a lot for granted! I also like the fact that marriage age is so open ended now. Dottie was 19 and complaining that marriage at 20 would be too much of a wait and render her as old. I like the amount of thought and research Jennifer S. Brown put into this novel and I wish there were a sequel, as I’d like to see what happens for Dottie and Rose after the final page.Movie casting:Dottie: Natalia Dyer(I saw her in Stranger Things and then she was all I can picture as Dottie) Rose: Rachel Weisz

  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    2019-02-26 14:10

    Rarely, upon finishing a book, am I at such a loss for words. What I want to know is: Where is the rest of the book?Modern Girls had the potential to be so much more... Rose and Dottie, a Jewish mother and daughter living in 1930's Manhattan, become pregnant at the same time. Neither is exactly thrilled to learn that they are in the family way. Rose is in her early 40's and will soon regain some freedom as her youngest son begins his education. Dottie is unwed and running out of options. There were some very interesting twists and turns of events. And a nice illustration of a pretty ideal mother-daughter relationship; not without some strife, of course, but with maximum love and loyalty. The relationship Dottie has with her brothers is also very touching. As I was nearing the end of the book, however, I became concerned that nothing seemed to be coming to any sort of conclusion. I thought perhaps there was going to be some sudden, drastic event that would wrap up all of the loose ends. Not so. If the end was intended to be a set-up for a sequel, it is still far too lacking. It needed a prologue at the very least. If I'd had to rate the book half way through, I would have given it 3.5/stars. Unfortunately, the ending was too disappointing to overlook.2.25/5I received a free copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Please visit my blog, Lit. Wit. Wine and dine. to read more of my reviews.

  • Renee Rosen
    2019-02-22 14:59

    Loved it! Great mother-daughter story with a twist or two! Review to come!

  • Leah
    2019-03-19 12:02

    there are so many reasons i loved this book. it was like reading about my great grandparents. it was an education about jewish lives in new york city in the 1930's- and really about all immigrants in many ways. it dealt with a woman's right to choose - something we are still fighting for all these years later. i really felt for the two main characters and their mother/daughter relationship, and their friendships with other women. there are passages that will stay with me, some heart breaking, some funny. and the ultimate compliment, i didn't want to put the book down and i miss the characters now.

  • Susan
    2019-03-03 17:06

    It is 1935 and a mother and daughter each come to a critical point in their lives. Russian Jews living in New York, the pull of the new world and the ties to the old world are illustrated in the daily actions and in how each come to terms with what they decide to do about their pregnancies. While to everyone, this is the story of immigrants and of women becoming more independent, but to me it was also a bit more personal. While not Russian or Jewish, I could clearly see my Polish Catholic grandmother and her entire generation in this book. The struggles between tradition and assimilation were the same. And, even the phrasing and some of the words used echoed situations from my childhood. Ms. Brown did an excellent job of taking what could be any young woman's story and making it richer by providing a rich historical backdrop. A wonderful book for anyone interested in a solid story, a look at pre-WWII women, or history.A preview copy of this book was provided by Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

  • Pam Jenoff
    2019-03-22 16:22

    I loved this book, which tells of a mother and daughter in 1930s New York who both find themselves unexpectedly pregnant at the same time. Brown chronicles their choices in a way that is realistic for the period, unflinchingly honest and admirably brave.

  • Laurel
    2019-03-24 11:22

    In Jennifer S. Brown’s Modern Girls it’s 1935 in New York City and mother and daughter, Rose and Dottie Krasinsky both find themselves in similar straits. Rose, Dottie’s mother, is 42 years old and thinks her childbearing days are over. She longs to return to the days when she can devote herself to the “cause,” raise the children she has, and find some time for her. Dottie, her oldest child and only daughter, has a promising career as a bookkeeper and a steady beau she hopes to marry. An argument with Abe, her boyfriend, and one mistake leave her pregnant and faced with life-changing decisions. Rose also finds herself in the family way and while she is married, she questions her condition and how her life will change with another child. All of this takes place in a changing world uneasy about Hitler and what’s occurring in Europe. Modern Girls is a book of the old and the new, about dreams and reality. Rose and Dottie are very realistically drawn and I became caught up in their fates.

  • Sue Seligman
    2019-02-26 16:18

    Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown is an amazing novel set in 1935 New York City. Dottie Krasinsky is the daughter of immigrant parents living on the Lower East Side and working as a bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan. Like most 19 year old girls of that time and place she is anxious to marry her steady boyfriend and start her own family, but her mother, Rose, wants her to fulfill her mathematical talents and pursue higher education to become an accountant. Rose has had a difficult life, experiencing heartache and tragedy both in her homeland and here in America, but she has her husband, four children and dreams of her own. During a pivotal summer, both women face a crisis which will test their faith and their relationships.The novel is told in alternating voices of Rose and Dottie. The women are different in terms of their values. Rose is very interested in the social issues of the time and both she and her husband are worried about the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Europe, especially because Rose's brother is still there. When the novel opens, Dottie is portrayed as a slightly frivolous and vain young lady who longs to be part of the world she sees uptown where she works. It seems as if she is embarrassed and ashamed of her background, the accents of her parents, and her home made clothes. However as the novel progresses, Dottie's character changes, and she comes to appreciate her family and how rich she is in the things that count. The two women become closer as they are both faced with choices and secrets that will affect their lives for years to come.This is a riveting read, and the characters are realistic and empathetic. The descriptions of the settings are spot on, and having visited the areas in New York where most of the novel takes place, I could actually visualize the sights, smell the aromas, and hear the city sounds described so vividly. I finished the book wanting more, and there is the hope that the author will write a sequel. I want to know what happens to both Dottie and Rose as they face the future and live with the consequences of their choices. A great book.

  • Karyl
    2019-03-09 11:57

    And here's another book of which I'll have a vastly different opinion from the masses...I can see why folks enjoy this book so much. Brown does an excellent job holding the reader's attention, and her writing is so clear and engaging. Quite often, an author's debut novel is full of clunky writing that gets in the way of the story, but this definitely isn't the case here. Brown writes so well that the reader forgets that she's reading words on a page; it feels more like a movie is unfolding in her mind.Unfortunately, I felt that the action moved a little too slowly. I'd read another 50 pages and nothing new would have happened; we were still at the same place we were before. As I approached the end of the novel, I began to be concerned that nothing would be resolved, and indeed, the book simply... ends. I can see how Brown would have kept it a bit open-ended to increase the suspense with what's going on with Dottie and Willie and whether they make it safely to Europe, but just to... end? An epilogue of some kind would have gone a long way.This is definitely a book worth reading, if for no other reason than the characters are very well drawn and the chemistry between Dottie and her mother Rose is lovely (though I never really *felt* it between Dottie and Abe, or even Dottie and Willie). But be aware that it's a frustrating book with no real ending.

  • Bailee Star
    2019-03-25 13:09

    This extraordinary book, rich with historical detail, grapples with the challenges of assimilating to American culture. Throughout, the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe looms in the backdrop as families struggle to succeed financially and otherwise in the 1930's. The book is told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter, Rose and Dottie Krasinsky, members a Jewish immigrant family living in New York’s Lower East Side in the 1930's. The author’s complex and nuanced portrayal of the family’s efforts to balance traditional Old world values against modern American conveniences highlights their compassion and humanity. I felt as if I was reading about my own great grandparents’ immigrant journey; this unforgettable book will stay with me and has given me much to wonder and think about.

  • Connie Mayo
    2019-02-22 14:26

    As much of a cultural immersion as a dip in the mikvah, Modern Girls is a great, compelling read. I particularly found the middle of the book gripping, so much so that while I was reading on the train, it was a good thing that my stop was the last or else I might have missed it. I love that the author turned some traditional expectations on their side. It's a particular kind of trick to have alternating point of view chapters and make the reader equally interested in both characters, but I was devoted to both Dottie and Rose, perhaps because you get to see their relationship strengthen during the course of their hardships. And the Jewish atmospherics - food, superstitions, Yiddish phrases, traditions - are so finely wrought, you'll plotz.

  • Karen
    2019-03-22 19:00

    I couldn't put this book down! The two key characters - Dottie and her mother Rose - and their dilemmas are made so real through clever story-telling, gripping dialogue and cinematic scene setting, that I could "see" the movie playing out in my head. The author brings us into the living rooms of immigrants in New York City and introduces us to their struggles and dreams, cultures and customs and a tumultuous time in history in a way that makes us feel like an insider. This is historical fiction at it's best. when you close the book and feel you have been thoroughly entertained, but you've learned much – about Jewish culture, gender roles in the 1930's, and the passivity that led up to World War II.When can I read the sequel??

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-07 11:00

    An incredible book about a mother and daughter in 1930's manhattan. As women we strive to either be like our mothers or to forge our own paths. I've noticed in my life and experience that even when forging my own path I'm still very much my mother's daughter. Modern Girls is about a mother and daughter both facing the same situation. How will they handle it? What choices will they make? And how alike are they?Modern Girls would make an excellent book club pick

  • Danielle
    2019-03-01 19:06

    A classic Stephanie book club book. I really liked this one.

  • Lynn
    2019-03-15 11:00

    I loved this book! I could not stop reading it. In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky considers herself a modern girl. She has a good job as a bookkeeper, a steady boyfriend, wonderful girlfriends and is up on all the latest fashions. But at heart she is a very traditional young woman, living with her family on the lower East Side. But after a single careless night with a man who is not her boyfriend, she finds herself pregnant and desperate. Rose is Dottie's immigrant mother, married 20 years, immersed in her Jewish culture, and aching to get back to the social activist life she had before she had five children. When she also finds herself pregnant, she has to decide between the life she has and the life she wants. The book is told in alternating chapters between Dottie's and Rose's POVs. Dottie and Rose are two amazing characters. They just come alive off the page. Rose has a heartbreaking backstory, both in the "old country" and in terms of her children. But she is an incredibly strong woman who has found a way to rise above it all. Dottie is also a very strong woman, who makes a mistake and tries to figure out a way to live with it and still be true to herself. The two men in Dottie's life are Abe and Willie. Frankly, I wouldn't give two figs for Abe, although she loves him. Willie is more interesting in a way. Although he is also a real jerk, I think he would let her be her true self. I also think Dottie could keep him in line. The book also has an amazing sense of place. The Lower East Side of Manhattan comes alive in the book, as does Midtown Manhattan and the Upper East Side. You always know exactly where you are by the descriptions in the book. What this book screams for is a sequel. I really hope there is one. I would read it in a New York minute. 😁This book is an absolute recommend.

  • Stephanie Tournas
    2019-02-26 19:13

    Rose, very much an old world transplant, and her daughter, a career girl, follow unexpected paths in this moving historical novel set in New York in 1935. In alternating chapters, Rose and Dottie each describe the shock of their pregnancies and the impact on their lives. Dottie, at her accounting job, describes with almost sensual delight her love of numbers: "I pictured evenings filled with numbers swirling around, multiplying and dividing, leaping along the number line, digits building and snowballing to ever greater sums." How could she continue with her job and her recent advancement with a pregnancy?Rose, increasingly active in immigrant relief and socialist causes, dreads the shuttering of her longings to be on the front line of political action that another child would bring: "Feelings that had long lain slumbering rose in me - a heated passion, a longing for revolution that I helped bring on - and I was flooded once again with the convictions I'd held in my youth, back in the days before the twins were sick, the confidence that I, myself, could change the world."Both women struggle to manage the personal and political collision of their Yiddish-speaking Lower East Side world and the world of America starting to pay attention to the nascent conflict in Europe. A detailed and rich historical setting and fully realized and believable characters make this an impressive debut.

  • Barbara
    2019-03-09 14:02

    I had this book on my radar for quite sometime and was finally able to start it over the holidays. It was a truly special story following Dottie Krasinsky and her mother Rose during the pre-WWII years in a New York City. Dottie is a young Jewish girl living at home with her parents, working as a bookkeeper and trying to enjoy her "modern" life, having drinks with friends, listening to jazz music, and going steady with her boyfriend waiting for him to pop the question. Her mother Rose is an immigrant who arrived from Russia, married and almost immediately began a family. The story spotlighted what it must have been like to live in the Lower East Side, in a Yiddish speaking neighborhood, where there were certain unspoken values. One mistake by Dottie one night almost ruins her whole life, but we find out how tough Dottie really is as she is pushed to the brink. Rose seems to be getting bored after 20 years of marriage and raising kids. She slowly begins to make her way back to social activism that was a large part of her life as a young woman back in Russia. Both women's story was completely believable. I even hoped there was a sequel, so I could find out what happened to Dottie and Rose.

  • Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
    2019-03-13 16:15

    I had a hard time putting this book down. In today's age, unwed mothers can be frequently found in every neighborhood. Working mother's, especially older mother's are also common. In the 1930's though, standards were still high and getting pregnant before marriage was enough to bring shame down on the whole family. Business could be lost, opportunities not granted, and not just for the poor girl in question - but for the entire family. We think it was such a simpler time, but they had all the same concerns that we have today (just not all the electronics!). How to provide for a family; how to deal with consequences of a mistaken one night stand; how to care for a family and have a job. These are all things that are still faced today. Dottie and Rose may seem like they are from two different worlds, but they are more alike than they know. They are both strong, independent women living in a man's world. They both take matters into their own hands to secure an outcome that is acceptable to them. I am hoping that there may be another book to come so we can see how their decisions affect their lives and where their paths lead them!

  • Louise Miller
    2019-03-23 11:56

    MODERN GIRLS is such an engrossing novel. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading. Brown has an incredible hand with details, using every one of the five senses. I feel like I know the textures and smells of the streets and cramped apartments of the Lower East Side in the 30’s, the closeness of living in small spaces with large families. I could taste the pickled tongue and smell the scent of Aqua Velva. Brown also has such a skillful hand at weaving in historical details. I learned so much about this time in our history, both culturally and politically, and am intrigued to know more. MODERN GIRLS is told from the points of view of both Rose and her daughter Dottie. As a writer, I was so impressed with the way Brown effortlessly moves from one distinct voice to the other. I loved both main characters with equal measure. A wonderful debut!

  • Lori
    2019-03-06 18:56

    I couldn't put this book down and stayed up way too late finishing it. This book reminded me why I love historical fiction and why I need to read more of it. I truly felt like I had been transported back to 1930s NYC--the book is crammed with so much historical detail that place is as much a character as the Krasinskys. (Matthew Weiner, here's an idea for a show!) Hard choices and hard times (and harder times to come) are balanced with comic relief. And the love between Dottie and Rose--as well as among the Krasinsky family made my heart ache--in a good way.

  • Lisa Montanaro
    2019-02-27 17:15

    Great book about a Jewish mother and daughter living on the lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1930s that get themselves into some hot water. Enjoyed their relationship, as well as all of the other ones covered in the book. The historical references are fabulous, making the time period feel very authentic. If you love family drama, historical fiction and mother-daughter dynamics, be sure to grab this one!

  • Anita
    2019-02-23 13:00

    4.5 stars. Loved this book. The women are so strong and while Dottie and Rose are going through the same thing, it's frightening how similar life from 1935 and today is. Highly recommend.

  • Korey
    2019-03-02 15:12

    Modern Girls only spans a month in Dottie and Rose's lives as they simultaneously deal with unintended and undesired pregnancies, but Brown packs this work with enough emotion, insight, and historical detail to make the reader feel like they've lived beside both women their entire lives. Since we follow both women through their daily routines in detail and since their circumstances lend themselves to introspection and reflection we come to know them very intimately. Alternating chapters are narrated by Dottie and Rose in the first person and the reader is immediately emotionally attached to these nuanced characters. The potential consequences of Dottie's pregnancy are particularly dire. At the start of the book she has been promoted to head book keeper and intends to go to school to study accounting. Her pregnancy is the result of a one night stand with a well known lothario, who she slept with while feuding with her long time boyfriend. She can't pass the child off as his because he has piously refused to sleep with her before marriage. Throughout the book the tension steadily mounts as she tries to find away out of her predicament and disguise her condition. Rose has a loving husband but years of childcare, and lingering pain from a lost child, have exhausted her. She is longing to return to the activism of her youth, not to take care of a new child at 42. This was really excellent. I was impressed by how immersed I felt in the time period, and how emotionally invested I was in Krasinsky family. Not only are we thoroughly steeped in the milieu of the Lower East Side in 1935, but there are references to the burgeoning threat of Nazi Germany which are tragic when read with our modern perspective. I loved too how Dottie and Rose had feminist aspirations but in a period appropriate way. They were strong, ambitious women but they weren't anachronistically modern in their thinking. You could still see how the impact of older ways of thinking about gender and family molded their thinking.I can't wait to see what this author writes next.

  • Anjali Duva
    2019-03-18 11:18

    A thoroughly enjoyable story. Brown pulls the reader right into the world of a New York Jewish family in the 1930s, deftly weaving a tale of a mother and daughter each navigating expectations—their own, each other’s, their family’s, society’s-- regarding tradition, cultural assimilation, political activism, and women’s roles, all against the backdrop of looming war. The parallel stories of the two women make for an engrossing and page-turning read, and in the end I was sad to have to let go of both of them.

  • Stacie
    2019-03-21 16:01

    I have read many books set during this turbulent time in our history, but nothing that has tackled the delicate subject of unexpected pregnancies in a mother AND a daughter. The setting is 1935, New York City. The Krasinsky family lives in an apartment in the Lower East side of a Jewish neighborhood. Dottie is the responsible daughter who works in Midtown Manhatten crunching numbers all day. It may sound boring but for Dottie, numbers calm her and bring her structure. If she can just make the numbers work out then everything will fall into place. Unfortunately, the numbers aren't falling into place when she starts calculating the weeks and realizes she is pregnant and there is no possible scenario that her long-time beau is the father.Rose, Dottie's mother, has five children and now that the boys are a little older, feels she is ready to devote more time to Socialism. Her brother is stuck in Europe and with the news of Hitler and his attacks on the Jews, she is desperate to bring him to America. Just when Rose starts to think she can leave some of the cooking and cleaning behind, she realizes she is pregnant. Dottie and Rose keep their secrets to themselves, hiding behind dresses that are fitting too tight and appetites that are waning due to nausea. Suddenly one of them notices their symptoms are similar the two share their secrets with each other. Rose puts all her efforts into saving Dottie's relationship and reputation while dreading her own future of raising more children. The desperation of their situations and the sacrifices Rose is willing to make for Dottie offer amazing glimpses into the lifestyle of these women in the 1930's. I found the dual pregnancies interesting with both women dreading the consequences of their actions. Rose is happily married and was finally seeing the "light at the end of the tunnel" of motherhood while Dottie had plans for marrying a loyal Jewish man and taking college courses. She had just been named Head Bookkeeper and was thankful she could contribute more to the family's finances. Of course, the two of them can't keep their pregnancies hidden forever and Dottie's world is suddenly turned upside down. There are decisions made that will affect both Dottie and Rose for a lifetime. I found the pre-WWII piece of the story to be quite interesting. So much of the truth was hidden from people living in America. The news from Europe that was being reported in the papers wasn't as bad as what was truly happening to the Jewish people. Rose was frantic to get her brother to America but while reading, I was wondering to myself if it was already too late. With the chapters rotating between Dottie's perspective and Rose's, the story moves along quickly because you want to get back to the other character's situation. I found the main characters and their friends and family to be well-developed and created with care. From Dottie's snippy and conniving co-workers to Rose's deeply opposite boys, you could picture each one of them and appreciate their part of the storyline. For a debut novel, the novel is particularly unique and draws you in from the first few pages. As I found the story moving along at a fast pace and wondering how everything was going to end, I noticed I was in the final pages of the book (I read this as an eBook). I knew there was no way the lives of Dottie and Rose were going to get wrapped up in these final pages and I began to worry. If you don't like endings that leave you guessing, then this may disappoint you. It isn't that I wanted everything neat and tidy, but I felt let down with the ending as it was. I can understand if the author is hoping to write a sequel, but if not, I feel it was a much too abrupt ending with too many questions left unanswered. This debut novel certainly held my attention and left a memorable impact. I just hope there is more to tell in this mother/daughter story.

  • Kathy
    2019-03-15 19:19

    In a time when planned parenthood is a hot, political agenda item, imagine living in 1935 among the Jewish community, or any community for that matter, and being faced with this issue in your own life. Modern Girls brings a controversial flavor to our reading palate that might leave a bad taste in the mouths of many and although it touches on a hot button topic for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the realism of the story. The desperation of these women is palpable, so their choices, good or bad, make sense for their state of mind at the time. Rose, a forty-two-year-old mother of five and Dottie, a nineteen-year-old unmarried girl with a promising future brought real life into this work of fiction based on the author’s ancestors and heritage.While I understand these women and their indecision and choices born of desperation, I still became quite angry with them both. Starting with Rose, I didn’t like that she was so pushy in her persuasion of what Dottie should do regarding Dottie’s pregnancy. Rose was keeping her own pregnancy a secret and had no idea what to do for herself, yet she certainly told Dottie what she should do, and it was all about saving face in the family. There was very little support, just selfish risk disguised as support. Dottie’s pregnancy is the result of a one-night stand after having an argument with her boyfriend of three years. I became quite agitated early on with Dottie, if not downright angry, as she tried to scheme and seduce her boyfriend, Abe, into sleeping with her to make him think the baby is his. She even goes so far as to blame Abe for being a so-called Puritan, as time is ticking away and he is becoming less of a viable option for her. All hope is not lost, though. As this mother-daughter duo begin to slowly break down walls and spill secrets to one another, deepening their mother-daughter relationship over their pregnancies and choices, my own walls broke, taking me past my anger and into a developing compassion for these women.Jennifer S. Brown has written an exceptional debut novel that captivated me with all the things Modern Girls offers: controversy that differs with my own value system, a deeper understanding of the Jewish culture, and a realism stemming from the characters and storyline. The author touches on the unrest in Europe for the Jewish people leading up to the war, being an immigrant while fearing for your family left behind and surprisingly, the stereotyping that paints the Jewish people as stingy with money (I was taken aback by those passages). One issue that I have with this book is the Yiddish language scattered throughout the story. I understand the necessity and could sometimes gain meaning of the words through context but more often, I could not, which led me to stop reading and look up the translations, slowing down my reading pace. I didn’t notice that enhanced text is an amenity offered for the e-books, so I hope this is something the publisher will correct or perhaps, offering a glossary of Yiddish terms and translations would be helpful. The ending is resolved but still left open for a possible sequel, which I do hope will happen because I would enjoy knowing how Dottie fares in the future. Modern Girls is a book I can recommend because the writing and plot are solid, the characters and events are very realistic, and the storyline is most compelling.My final thoughts:Modern Girls is a captivating debut from Ms. Brown that is controversial, diverse in Jewish culture, and realistic. It will bring forth emotions, good and bad, in the events that transpire, but it is not without issues. However, it is a book I recommend for both women and men readers of all adult ages.