Written by Ruth Behar
Set in the 1960’s in New York City, this tale based on real life experiences is one of an immigrant’s own experience. Life is filled with diversity as well as poverty but then disrupted by a car accident. Ruthie is put in a body cast and stuck in bed for months.
Trials between her and her mother are real and expected but tend to slow the pace of the story. While the experiences are true to life, the plot will seem weak to today’s readers and may cause more readers to begin the book than will finish it. Part of the problem may be due to readers not being aware of the time period of the story. Aside from the usage of Chiclets and GoGo Boots, there is little to announce it is taking place in the 1960’s. This lack of clear setting is a problem.
Teachers and librarians can help get the book into the hands of readers by explaining it is historical fiction. It is a “quiet” read but has much to offer to individuals, especially those in a healing mode.
The writing is lyrical and beautifully done. Character development is strong and dialogue is realistic. The beauty of the story comes in finding healing through the wonderful people, books and stories brought to Ruthie. There is always hope, even in what could look like dire circumstances.
- Title: Lucky Broken Girl
- Author: Ruth Behar
- Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2017
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Hardcover, 250 pages
- ISBN: 978-0-399-54644-0
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Grade level: 5 up
- Extras: Author Note