Better Than Gold: An Immigrant Family's First Years in Brooklyn

Fannie Silver, Author, David Silver, Foreword by
Fannie Silver, Author, David Silver, Foreword by Jewish Heritage Project $24.95 (250p) ISBN 978-0-9660440-0-3
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A nostalgic evocation of the Jewish immigrant world of early-20th-century New York City, these 31 semiautobiographical stories, set in Brooklyn roughly between 1915 and 1919, is less sophisticated variation on Irving Howe's World of Our Fathers. Brooklyn-born Silver, who wrote these posthumously published tales from the mid-1960s until shortly before her death in 1987 at age 82, uses these unpretentious, unabashedly sentimental stories to evoke a Jewish milieu where resilient family and community ties act as a bulwark against America's competitive, atomizing individualism. ""`World of Our Mothers"" might be an apt title, because the dominating figure is outspoken, superstitious Rifka Rosenstein, lovingly overprotective mother of three boys and three girls. Through the inquisitive eyes of her dutiful adolescent daughter Frieda we see typical family life (paying the rent, an outing to Coney Island) but also unusual events like the haunting of a neighbor's apartment by a ghost or the trial of a woman accused of stealing a chicken. With titles like ""The Revenge of the Klutzy Kid,"" ""Things the Bubbe Taught Me"" and ""Hope Helps,"" these simply related tales, complemented by period photographs, are enhanced by their warmth, humor and authentic detail. (Aug.)
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