Book Reviews

Cece reviews: The Jazz Club Spy by Roberta Rich

                                                What a GEM of a book: The Jazz Club Spy by Roberta Rich!

Bestselling author of the trilogy: Midwife of Venice, The Harem Midwife and A Trial In Venice, Roberta’s main protagonist in The Jazz Club Spy is Giddy Brodsky, a witty and courageous young Jewish woman that you can’t help but cheer on as you accompany her throughout her hard scrabble journey. A cigarette girl at a Manhattan Jazz Club, Giddy has big dreams for her future as she compounds different types of creams and lotions that she plans to sell in her soon-to-open salon.
Life has been a tough scramble for Giddy and her family, who escaped their shtetl Ukrainian village when it was invaded by Cossacks. It was an experience that required her, as a young child to hide inside her bubbe’s cow carcass until the rape-and-plunder soldiers had moved on.
“They had galloped away with the candlesticks from the shul, our red hens, and my childhood.”
Giddy’s family managed to escape and subsequently settled in the Lower East Side tenements of Manhattan in the late 1930s.
The language and the dialogue in Rich’s book is both powerful and imagery-centric. The Cossacks’ horses’ hoof prints were “big as dinner plates.”
Giddy’s friend Haddie, for whom she fed information to for her fortune telling sessions, “looked like a little squirrel on the track of a whole new supply of nuts.”
In a surreptitious meeting of men, who she considered the enemy, Giddy describes one of the men as wearing “an old-country suit that looked like it had been cut out of brown butcher paper and stitched together by orangutans.”
How can the reader not envision that!
And how delicious is the imagery of a window about “the size of an eviction notice.”
The treachery of Carter, Giddy’s lover and confidant, and the double cross he pulled on Giddy, would decimate a weaker woman, but Giddy is so determined, so courageous, so true to her word, especially at a time when women were not particularly empowered, is just so damn uplifting and inspiring.

                                   Creative Aging Books & Ideas presents Roberta Rich, Thursday Jan 25, 2 pm


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