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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska

Published 1925 by Doubleday & Co., Inc.
ISBN 978-0-89-255290-0
336 pages
Series? No
Rating: PG
BUY / Nook / Kindle

The classic novel of Jewish immigrants in new trade paperback format and design, with sixteen period photographs.
This masterwork of American immigrant literature is set in the 1920s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and tells the story of Sara Smolinsky, the youngest daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, who rebels against her father's rigid conception of Jewish womanhood. Sarah's struggle towards independence and self-fulfillment resonates with a passion all can share. Beautifully redesigned page for page with the previous editions, Bread Givers is an essential historical work with enduring relevance.

This book was read for my Introduction to Literature class.

When I first started to read the book I found myself really annoyed with the sentence syntax and how it was almost absolutely impossible for me to really understand what was happening without reading every sentence at least three times. Yet because I needed to read this book for my class I could not put it off without my grade suffering. So I tried to not let it bug me and within a few chapters I finally succeeded.

The story is a very character driven one or at least that is what my Literature professor said. I am forced to believe this because many of the characters I found that I loved or hated. I don't really think that I liked any of the characters even after the author tries to redeem them. The only character that I came anywhere near liking was Mashah and the reason that I liked her was because she was the only one who did not let her father or family walk all over her. Most of the people in my class found Bessie the most likable character but I could not stand her inability to stand up or think for herself.

The main character in the story is Sara. She is not really featured too much in the beginning and I felt like she was more of a narrator in the beginning. I did not really have much sense of who she was until her sister's start to leave the home. After that I realized how much she was alike to her father and I could not like her. She allows the tiniest things to dictate her emotions and she did the more irrational things every time she thought that she was in love.

I did not really have much sense of time moving through the story. While Sarah started out at ten I could not tell the difference between then and the end of the book. Also I could not tell anytime passed at all while she was in college.

I liked the idea of the story but the execution was a little off for me. Most of the characters actions was like reading a telenovela. They were all over acted and too dramatic. They continually pull out their hair and at one point a character was said to be slamming her head against the wall. Then there was the fact that the main character let herself be emotionally manipulated by every character around her. I am just not a very forgiving person when it comes to characters that let people walk all over them. Lets just say that my eyes got a huge workout with how often that I rolled my them at the characters and their actions.

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