The Tin Horse by Janice Steinberg -352 pages
After years of resistance to the idea, feisty octogenarian Elaine Greenstein finally decides to move from the home in which she raised her family to a retirement community. While she's packing her possessions, she finds a clue to the whereabouts of her twin sister, who disappeared from the little-known Jewish mecca of Boyle Heights on the eve of WWII when the girls were eighteen. Plunging back into memories of her childhood and the momentous historical facts that impacted her family, Elaine recalls her family's stories-those from the Old Country, and tales of immigration travails, and the heartache of being the "smart" one of the twins instead of the "popular" one.
In an utterly unforgettable, salty voice, Elaine revives the memories of growing up with her twin sister Barbara, her parents, her Zayde, her aunts and her younger sisters as the Greensteins bear the disappointments, heartbreaks, and fallout from the immigrant baggage that they have been unable to shed despite settling in southern California-the land of sunshine and opportunity, fig trees and equality.
My Review: 5 stars
What a gem of a book. A beautiful story about sisters, their diverging paths and even more so about the multiple generations living together in the predominantly Jewish town of Boyle Heights. This author seamlessly took us from past to present and was very rich in the detail so much that I could smell the pickles as she passed by the deli on her street. The secrets people hold and the obstacle of both sisters loving the same person were at the heart of this book. The message that every sibling grows up in a different household was clearly told in this story and it rang so true to me. We all remember things differently and have very subjective views upon which we place those memories. Birth order, the economy and whether we were at war are all things that could make growing up experiences very different. This author is a born storyteller and am so happy I happened upon this book.
Quotes I liked:
- “ -and I guess this proves it- that every sibling grows up in a different family. That if someone asked you or Audrey or me what it was like growing up, we’d have wildly different stories.”
Tags: 2013, Fiction, Sisters, Judaic
Labels: 2013, Fiction, Judaic, Sisters