An intimate look at a young woman’s struggle to find her own truth in a repressive society.



Grobman’s debut memoir explores her childhood in the Soviet Union.

The author was born into a Jewish family in Moscow in 1951, near the end of Josef Stalin’s reign. As a child, Grobman shared the experiences common to other urban Russians of her generation: overcrowded housing, summertime trips to dachas, enforced social conformity. From an early age, she escaped her Soviet reality by reading stories, beginning with folk tales about mythical figures such as Baba Yaga. When she began school, though, she was indoctrinated into the communist system. Portraits of Vladimir Lenin and Nikita Khrushchev hung on the classroom walls, alongside banners proclaiming, “Thank You Our Dear Communist Party for Our Happy Childhood!” Grobman initially accepted this dogma, but at the same time, she was aware that her family was different than their neighbors’; they were Jews in a society which didn’t tolerate ethnic minorities. Her family conversed in Yiddish at home but didn’t allow her to learn the language for fear that she would stand out and be persecuted. As Grobman entered her teenage years, her eyes began to open to her native country’s brutality and to the past traumas that her family suffered at the hands of both the Nazis and Stalin. Although history looms heavily in the background of the memoir, the author’s accounts of her young life are informed more by her day-to-day experiences with her family, school, and neighborhood than by the broader political situation. The book isn’t filled with drama; rather, most episodes focus on subtler problems arising from the daily indignities of communism, long-simmering family issues, and societal anti-Semitism. The prose is readable and familiar, creating an effect much like listening to a relative recount family stories. Each chapter functions as a stand-alone tale, depicting not only a moment in Grobman’s childhood, but also an aspect of Soviet life. Overall, although this memoir delivers few great revelations and breaks little new ground, it does provide a relatable, personal portrait of Jewish life in Soviet Moscow in the 1950s and ’60s.

An intimate look at a young woman’s struggle to find her own truth in a repressive society.

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0692312285

Page Count: -

Publisher: Musings Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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