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Growing up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood, 1963-1980

Growing up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood, 1963-1980

by Catherine Young

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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 )
Library Journal - Library Journal
Brought up in a relatively comfortable Moscow household by parents who taught her early on to disbelieve the regime's propaganda, Young didn't have what one would call a typical Soviet childhood. Nevertheless, this is the most vivid account yet of middle-class life in Brezhnev's Russia, a richly detailed depiction of Soviet manners and morals unlikely to be surpassed in the near future. Having spent the latest third of her life in America, Young knows what will be interesting and relevant for an American audience, making this one of those few works by Soviet emigres that can appeal to a broad range of readers. She touches upon almost every aspect of Soviet life, conveys a historical perspective, and presents a wide range of often compelling characters.-- Robert Decker, Columbia

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
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