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Sara

I work to keep my reviews free of plot spoilers. I hate reviews that tell you the whole story. That said, I do love reading reviews!

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  • Up from Orchard Street

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Eleanor Widmer
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (342)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (117)

    Three generations of Roths live together in a crowded tenement flat. Long-widowed Manya is the family's head and its heart. But Manya is no soft touch, except, perhaps, where her granddaughter Elka is concerned. Precocious Elka is her closest companion and confidante. Through Elka's eyes we come to know the fascinating characters who move in and out of the Roths' lives.

    Sara says: "Tenement Life From a Child's Point of View"
    "Tenement Life From a Child's Point of View"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As the author states in the afterward of the book-this book is part biography, part fiction and all true. It tells a sweeping story of living in poverty in the tenements of NYC through the eyes of young Elka. The book reminded me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn at first. However, I can understand why it isn't on a youth reading list anywhere. This story is peppered with frank talk about sex, infidelity and off-color jokes. Much of this was unnecessary for the story. It is a shame that this content makes it inappropriate for young people because it is an engaging tale filled with growth, insight and change.

    I agree with another reviewer that I would have liked a better time line. I found myself wondering what year it was when the action took place and hoping for an easier tracking of time progression. Instead there were vague mentions of "the war". Having firmer grounding in time would have made the story fit more easily into the world going on around it.

    Lorna Raver, the narrator, did a great job. I really enjoyed her enthusiasm. It was a long book but the listening time flew by and my attention was held effortlessly. Parts of the book are difficult listening, as the poverty, chronic illness, filth and constant struggle are harsh realities. That said, it is a good story and I'm glad I listened.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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