Bread Givers

Bread Givers

NOOK Book(eBook)

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The classic novel of Jewish immigrants, with period photographs.

This masterwork of American immigrant literature is set in the 1920s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and tells the story of Sara Smolinsky, the youngest daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, who rebels against her father's rigid conception of Jewish womanhood. Sarah's struggle towards independence and self-fulfillment resonates with a passion all can share. Beautifully redesigned page for page with the previous editions, Bread Givers is an essential historical work with enduring relevance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780892553815
Publisher: Persea Books
Publication date: 08/01/2003
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 400,954
File size: 821 KB

About the Author

Anzia Yezierska (1882-1970) was born in Poland and came to the Lower East Side of New York with her family in 1890 when she was nine years old.  By the 1920s she had risen out of poverty and become a successful writer of stories, novels—all autobiographical—and an autobiography, Red Ribbon on a White Horse (Persea). Her novel Bread Givers (Persea) is considered a classic of Jewish American fiction. Her acclaimed books also include How I Found America: Collected Stories and The Open Cage. She died in 1970.

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Bread Givers 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since I had to read this book for a summer reading assignment I thought it would be boring, but I loved it. It is very easy to follow and understand. Not once did I find it complicated to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My younger sister was assigned this book as part of a school assignment. She handed it to me and told me to read it. I started and couldn't put down until I finished it. To read Anzia Yezierska's remarkable story of growing up under the circumstances that she did, getting out from under her father's thumb and achieving her goals was inspiring. This book shed a new light on the life of immigrants.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I began reading this book and i just couldn't let it down. Its a very touching story. The way she explains herself makes me understand her feelings completely. Throughout the novel, i cried, i got really angry with the dad, but the ending really pleased me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I imagine it will be hard for young people to believe families actually lived like this, back when children were seen but not heard. Interesting look into the real past.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fun story that is an easy, quick read. I recommend it for teenagers and adults alike. It tells the story of the independant and stubborn Sara as she grows up in the Jewish ghetto of New York. She is forced to close herself against her immigrant family, especially her chauvenistic, tyrranical father. The story can be a little sad and even at times melodramatic, but it is for the most part an engrossing, colorful, and heart-warming tale of survival and perseverance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This young girl grew up watching her father marry all her sisters to someone they didn't love. Seeing this she decided to run away from her father's old world and escape to the new world where she can marry someone she love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Most of us regard the jews as an alienated group of people. By reading this book, I get to understand that being raised in a jewish family has nothing unfamiliar comparing to others families. This is a very good book my friends, read it. I can't wait for my two months old gaughter to grow up so that I can pass her my copy.
Kev1 More than 1 year ago
This book is a very touching story of a Jewish girl overcoming her struggles and succeeding in life. Her resilence and perseverance resonates throhgout the story and touches everyone who reads it. Her father is not the most likeable of characters that I have read and comes across as selfish. Overall it is a good read, touching and inspirational. It is a little hard to read because it is slow developing, but give it time, you will enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was rather slow and had an abrupt ending. It had many acts of sexism and this was rather annyoing but historically accurate. Overall, 10 being the best and 1 being the worst. It was probably a 51/2. I rate it this because even though it was historically accurate, I was looking for a book that might be able to get me out of my romance stage. It failed to do so and it wasn't one of my favorites. Not only was it slow, the ending was so abrubt and sudden, you did not even know what happened and it left me with many questions. Overall, if you have nothing else to read, look at it. But until then, find something else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was assigned this book for a college class last semester and ended up keeping it on my little bookshelf. It centers around a young woman and her jewish family's struggles to assimilate (or not) into American culture. There's countless other stories similar to it, but Yezierska's writing style is very easy to follow. The father is one of the most infuriating characters I've come across in my recent readings. Overall, good book and not so bad as an assignment. Similar plot line as Jade Snow Womg's 'Fifth Chinese Daughter'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book as a reading assignment for a class.I enjoyed this book very much, eveyone should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished studying this book for the third time, having read it once in high school and twice in college. This book is a great reference for people interested in immigrant America and the question/process of Americanization.
jentifer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a work of fiction, but it is heavily based on the life of Anzia Yezierska and her immigrant family's struggles in the Lower East Side. This is an interesting piece of work as both literature, and a sociological and historical text.
WarBetweentheBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was read for my Introduction to Literature class.When I first started to read the book I found myself really annoyed with the sentence syntax and how it was almost absolutely impossible for me to really understand what was happening without reading every sentence at least three times. Yet because I needed to read this book for my class I could not put it off without my grade suffering. So I tried to not let it bug me and within a few chapters I finally succeeded.The story is a very character driven one or at least that is what my Literature professor said. I am forced to believe this because many of the characters you will either love or hate. I found that when I disliked a character after I first met them that I could not find any reason to like them afterward even though the author tried so hard to redeem them.I liked the idea of the story but the execution was a little off for me. Most of the characters actions was like reading a telenovela. They were all over acted and too dramatic. They continually pull out their hair and at one point a character was said to be slamming her head against the wall. Then there was the fact that the main character let herself be emotionally manipulated by every character around her. I am just not a very forgiving person when it comes to characters that let people walk all over them. Lets just say that my eyes got a huge workout with how often that I rolled my them at the characters and their actions.
Lindsey_Mcdowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
SummaryThis book is about an immigrant family. The story is told and focuses on a young girl name sara and her life. She has two sisters whom all three are verbally and physically abused by their father whom they just wish to be accepted by. They live in American and all have dreams of marrying, and going on to better themselves and make better lives for themselves. the sisters Slowly give up on their dreams and fall into the same path as the mother and father. Sara will not give up on her dreams though, she continues to push and she goes to college. In the end despite all the hardships and obstacles she reaches her goals and reaches. Personal ReactionI read this book for a past history class and was quite reluctant to pick it up. thinking it was going to be so historical and drag on. yet when i started reading the book i couldnt put it down. The struggle and the relatability to some of our everyday life situations makes you really be able to relate to it and keeps you interested. Classroom Extension1. This book could be used in a high school or maybe junior high class when you are in a unit talking about the holocaust and hitler. 2. this book could also be used when the classroom is learning about immigration
MarysLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This gripping novel of the American Jewish immigrant experience was first published in 1925. Written from the point of view of an increasingly Americanized daughter it tells the story of a father who, as he sees his daughters betginning to break from the traditions of life in the old country, becomes a tyrant. The narrator leaves home to study nights while working in laundries. She eventually goes to college and becomes a teacher, but she realizes that she has been able to achieve this because of what she learned from her father.
snapplechick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sara Smolinsky lives in a small house in the Neww York's Lower East Side during the 1920's. Her family is poverty stricken and she has had to work every day since she was 9 or 10. Her father refuses to work because he says his job is to study the Torah. As she grows up, her three older sisters are forced to reject the men they love and marry to disgusting, ltying, men their ftaher has picked for them. Sara overcomes all of the examples that shes lived through and lives out her dream of becoming a teacher. This book had a great story that took you on a roller coaster. You feel angry at the father, then pity, then happiness, then suspense, then joy, then sadness, and then love. The book is really great if you have to do an assignment on because it has so much to relate to and an easy plot to follow. Anyone can apreciate this story.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sara Smolinsky lives in a crowded, dreary tenement apartment on the east side of New York City with her Orthodox rabbi father, her hard-working mother and her three sisters. The youngest of her siblings, Sara watches as her tyrannical father berates and verbally abuses them. One by one, Sara¿s sisters give up their dreams of marrying for love and find themselves matched to men who are gamblers, liars, and misogynists. Sara¿s determination and iron will to make something of herself causes her to run away at age seventeen with the dream of going to college to become a teacher. Yet even when she achieves her goal, she is unable to completely free herself from the past.Bread Givers is a novel about the clash of traditional and modern; the immigrant experience in the 1920s; the myth of the American Dream; hypocrisy in religion; and the dawn of women¿s rights. Set in New York City¿s east side, the book explores the horror of poverty and the drudgery of work in the sweat shops and on the streets to earn a few pennies for a loaf of bread and a bit of soup. Hard work, unhappiness, and poverty take their toll on each character in turn.Beauty was in that house. But it had come out of Mashah¿s face. The sunny colour of her walls had taken the colour out of her cheeks. The shine of her pots and pans had taken the lustre out of her hair. And the soda with which she had scrubbed the floor so clean, and laundered her rags to white, had burned in and eaten the beauty out of her hands. ¿ from Bread Givers, page 147 -Sara narrates her story beginning at the age of ten and continuing through her teens and into adulthood. Often the language of the novel is awkward with unusual word choices ¿ reading like a work in translation. It was hard for me to understand if this was intentional (as a way to demonstrate the stilted English of an immigrant) or unintentional, but the end result was a novel that felt unedited or in draft form.A review of Bread Givers would not be complete without an examination of one of the central characters. Reb Smolinsky, Sara¿s father, is a man drenched in the piousness of his religion and filled with hypocrisy. He preaches that material gain on earth will make Heaven unattainable, yet he clings to his daughters for the money they bring in to support him and ruins his family with a bad business deal which he sees as a get rich quick scheme.¿What! Sell my religion for money? Become a false prophet to the Americanized Jews! No. My religion is not for sale. I only want to go into business so as to keep sacred my religion. I want to get into some quick money-making thing that will not take up too many hours a day, so I could get most of my time for learning.¿ ¿ from Bread Givers, page 111 -Reb Smolinsky is a tyrant, a bully, and a misogynist. His views of women are steeped in tradition and rigidly held. When it comes to his daughters, he does not consider their happiness, but instead looks at what they can offer him.The prayers of his daughters didn¿t count because God didn¿t listen to women. Heaven and the next world were only for men. Women could get into Heaven because they were wives and daughters of men. Women had no brains for the study of God¿s Torah, but they could be the servants of men who studied the Torah. Only if they cooked for the men, and washed for the men, and didn¿t nag or curse the men out of their homes; only if they let the men study the Torah in peace, then, maybe, they could push themselves into Heaven with the men, to wait on them there. ¿ from Bread Givers, page 9 -But, despite the flaws in Reb Smolinsky, he does manage to give his youngest daughter the will and determination to seek her own happiness. When Sara flees her horrible home life and strikes out on her own, she learns something about sacrifice to achieve her goals. She also begins to appreciate the traits in her father which she now sees in herself.I had it from Father, this ingrained something in me tha
suesbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book a second time for a book group. The first time I loved it, but this time I was displeased with the cartoonish portrayal of characters in the first section. I did think the rest of the book was valuable, and it provided much insight in to the lives of immigrants in the early 20th century.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the book during highschool ending up doing a eassy about the story and how it related to my personal life. Great book.
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