OUT OF LINE by Tina Grimberg

OUT OF LINE

Growing Up Soviet
Age Range: 11 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

What was it like to grow up in the Soviet Union? This series of recollections, offers intriguing glimpses of that vanished world, harsh and drab, but full of lively human beings brimming with grand and petty passions, and poignant stories to tell. Tina’s loving Jewish family occupies a tiny apartment in Kiev, Ukraine; her grandmothers live nearby. Negotiating the dreary facts of Soviet life—long queues, cramped housing and lack of privacy, reliance on personal “connections” to bypass senseless bureaucracy—is grueling, but human ingenuity is up to the challenge. The appalling destruction of World War II is blamed alongside Soviet policies for the privations. The author hasn’t quite mastered her storytelling tools. She makes an important reference to the concentration camp Babi Yar in one chapter, but explains it only later. Flashbacks are confusing or misplaced, interrupting the narrative flow and lessening emotional impact. Political and historical references are vague and oddly dispersed. Nonetheless, this memoir offers a rare, often vivid portrait of a world now extinct. (Fiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-88776-803-3
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Tundra
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2007