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After I Said No: A Novel
     

After I Said No: A Novel

by Sheila Golburgh Johnson
 
"After I Said No Tells the story of 15-year-old Perele Sokolv, who leaves Russia for New York, alone, in 1905 to escape from anti-Semitism. She boards a ship for America where well-to-do relatives want to take her in and marry her to their son.

In Russia, Perele's family was well off, descendants of a master artisan who was said to have "golden hands." But in

Overview

"After I Said No Tells the story of 15-year-old Perele Sokolv, who leaves Russia for New York, alone, in 1905 to escape from anti-Semitism. She boards a ship for America where well-to-do relatives want to take her in and marry her to their son.

In Russia, Perele's family was well off, descendants of a master artisan who was said to have "golden hands." But in America she chooses poverty and grueling work rather than a comfortable life for the price of "pretending to be who I was not."

In addition to Perele's conflict, the book brings to life the little-known history of immigrant girls who worked in garment industry sweatshops, exploited and yet independent "free" women.

Johnson was inspired to write this novel after learning of the life of entrepreneur Lane Bryant, a Russian-Jewish emigrant who invented ready-to-wear maternity clothes and founded a clothing chain. Johnson tried to learn more about Bryant, going as far as the Library of Congress, but turned up little. After I Said No is her imaginative recreation of a similar situation. In the book, Perele's tailored clothing helps liberate pregnant women from the shadowy confines of their boudoirs.

Sheila Golburgh Johnson has written a story with a positive feminist message. Teenagers and adults alike will be glad they got to know Perele and her friends and to discover what life was life for working girls in New York not so long ago." —Katy Meigs, Goleta Valley Voice, March 22, 2000

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Perele (Pearl) Sokolov leaves her homeland of Russia at the age of 14, persuaded by her distant father and her warm-hearted Aunt Rachel to try for a better life in America. She is to live with her wealthy Aunt Heddie's family in New York. There is one catch to this life of luxury—Perele has been promised in marriage to her odious cousin David. When she refuses to marry him, she leaves her new family and works in a sweatshop, and lives in a run-down boarding house. For these actions, she is disowned by her father, and she is heartbroken when her beloved Aunt Rachel passes away. Author Johnson skillfully weaves in many historical elements into the telling of Perele's story—the anti-Semitism of Tsarist Russia, the poor working conditions in sweatshops—while keeping the reader's attention focused on what will happen to Perele next. Will she achieve her dream of creating her own dress designs and owning her own shop? Will she ever commit to her faithful and devoted suitor Morris? Fans of historical fiction will be pleased with this novel, which was awarded The Sydney Taylor Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries. It could also be successfully incorporated into a social studies unit study on immigration or labor conditions in America. This book is especially recommended for those public libraries or school libraries seeking to add more historical fiction, especially from the Jewish perspective, to their collections. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Fithian Press, 121p, 22cm, 99-25532, $10.95. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Tricia Finch; Youth Scvs. Libn., North Port P.L., North Port,FL, May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564743121
Publisher:
Daniel, John & Company, Publishers
Publication date:
03/28/2000
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.64(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

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