Wednesday, 9 November 2016

From My Shelf - Book Review: Mr Rosenblum's List - Natasha Solomons

Synopsis - Jack Rosenblum is 5'3.5" of sheer tenacity.  He's writing a list so he can become a Very English Gentleman.

It's 1952 and despite his best efforts, his bid to blend in is fraught with unexpected hurdles - including his wife.  Sadie doesn't want to forget where they came from or the family they've lost.  And she shows no interest in getting a purple rinse.

Join Jack as he leads a reluctant Sadie deep into the heart of the English countryside.  Here, in a land of woolly pigs, bluebells and jitterbug cider, they embark on an impossible task.... (Quoted from the back cover)

Review - This story was just what I needed.  A light book which was funny and kept you reading.  The story is based on the author's own grandparents arrival in Britain and being given a copy of the 'Helpful Guidance' for refugees entering the UK.

Jack wanted to blend in and become British in his adopted homeland.  I get that totally, we all want to fit in and it must have been as difficult back then during/after the war as it is for refugees today.  I wanted him to succeed as an Englishman but I felt sorry for Sadie who got almost forgotten in Jack's obsession with his list.  As a woman left to manage the home in this strange and alien country and having to learn a new language it must have been hard.  She didn't have the same opportunities as Jack who had to be entrepreneurial and build a business to make money so that they could live.  Sadie baked and when she didn't bake she tended her patch of garden.  I loved the cakes that Sadie baked and the very vague recipe for Baumtorte at the back of the book.

The book focuses on their lives in Dorset where Jack's obsession really takes hold with great cost.  I am not going to spoil it for you but you realise it his tenacity and perhaps his Jewishness that makes him succeed in gaining acceptance.  3*

Published by Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 978-0-340-99566-2

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