Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood

Cathy Young, Author Ticknor & Fields $18.95 (334p) ISBN 978-0-89919-511-7
Perhaps the one revelation in this genteel, interesting if unsophisticated memoir is that there is a certain universality about growing up middle-class, whether in Moscow or Mobile. A Jew, and an only child, who in 1980 (at age 17) emigrated to the U.S. with her father, a record engineer, and mother, a music teacher, Young had a comfortable life in the Soviet capital: cultured parents, two-bedroom apartment, dacha, education at a privileged school. Her parents were not of the establishment, however, so were not spared the inconveniences of the Russian consumer; and although not dissidents, they provided their daughter with ``heretical counterpoints to the orthodoxies.'' The author writes of her classrooms and of her life as a teen in a society in which young people, with no pressures of a dating ritual or to hold after-school jobs, interest themselves not only in pop-music idols but also in books. No momentous happenings disrupt the calm tempo of events recounted here--despite the author's protestations about ``living the lie'' in the U.S.S.R.--for even the family's emigration was smooth. And although raised in a non-religious household, Young, now a New Jerseyan, makes a startlingly sweeping observation about Soviet Jews: ``They would much rather live as Russians than as Jews.'' ( May )
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
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