What does it mean to be an American if you weren’t born in this country and are a member of a religious minority? Sarah asks herself this question daily as she walks a tightrope between the strict demands of her Orthodox Jewish father, who thinks she’s too American, and her classmates, who think she's not American enough.
Sarah’s life is an adventure. She catches a thief, survives a horrifying automobile accident that kills her much-loved uncle, talks to his ghost at a séance with a Ouija board, starts to finds her voice in a school play, and helps her mother obtain a Jewish divorce from her faithless, bootlegger father. When she sneaks out to an illegal speakeasy, she encounters fierce racial prejudice that puts her in great danger.
Sarah's gift with numbers lands her employment in a grocery store and eventually attracts the attention of a powerful mentor. The job he offers her means she has to make a life choice that could cost her a cherished friend. Read the first two chapters in EMBARK MAGAZINE. Chapter 5, "Mrs. Shylock," was published this April in THE WILDERNESS HOUSE REVIEW.
In this 1926 photograph, Aunt Sarah (second from the left) looks every inch the flapper in her sleek brunette bob and her high heels. The third girl from the right is wearing bar shoes favored by flappers for staying on your feet while you were dancing.
ALMOST AMERICAN is the follow-up to GLASS HEARTS. The child narrator Serene is now teenaged Sarah. In some ways, she's quite typical, and in other ways, she's still quaintly foreign. The novel begins in 1923 when she is a freshman in high school and taking her first steps toward independence. It ends three years later, during the tumultuous summer before her senior year.