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Review: Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English

December 30, 2010

Jack and Sadie Rosenblum immigrate from Germany to England in 1937 and Jack aspires to be English from the moment they arrive. When a man from the ‘German Jewish Aid Committee’ hands Jack a pamphlet called While you are in England: Helpful Information and Friendly Guidance for every Refugee, Jack takes it to heart. Some of the items are fairly easy for Jack to accomplish – don’t criticize the government, don’t speak German in public – but one thing always alludes him – joining a golf club. It seems that no one will admit Jack because he’s Jewish. Jack and Sadie live in London and Jack starts a fairly successful business. He becomes obsessed with joining a golf club and when he doesn’t succeed, he decides to sell their home, move to the country and build a course of his own. Sadie isn’t happy about the move, but goes along with it. She hasn’t assimilated as well as Jack and she still continues to mourn the family she left behind in Germany. Through it all, Sadie and Jack persevere and grow stronger than ever.

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English, by Natasha Solomons, is based on the experiences of the author’s grandparents, and I found it to be charming. I could really relate to Jack and Sadie – it’s difficult to maintain your own culture and assimilate into a new one at the same time. I felt that the relationship between the two was very true to life – since Jack went to work each day and Sadie stayed home, he was adjusting to their new way of life with more ease. I thought the characters of the small town of Dorset were fantastic too. I don’t want to say too much about what happens to the Rosenblums in Dorset because that would ruin part of the story, but I really enjoyed the journey Jack and Sadie made. Things weren’t always easy, but they stuck together and made it work the best they could, and learned so much along the way. Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English is a quiet, contemplative novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

_____________________________________________________________

My book club read this for our second meeting and everyone enjoyed the novel. We had a lively discussion about immigration and the value of belonging. Most people thought that it usually takes a generation before immigrants fully assimilate. Even though everyone liked Jack and Sadie, most people said Curtis, one of the characters in Dorset, was their favorite.

Challenges: The Reagan Arthur Books Challenge

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

 

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2010 4:11 am

    I was already planning to read this next year, but now I’m even more excted to get to it!

  2. December 30, 2010 7:08 am

    It’s on my tbr list. Nice review – I liked how you could relate!

  3. December 30, 2010 8:33 am

    I really enjoyed this book too – it’s the exact kind of quiet, contemplative novel that I’ve always loved. Glad you felt the same! :)

  4. December 30, 2010 8:45 am

    I keep forgetting that I want to read this and then I read another positive review. I really must get to it.

  5. December 30, 2010 8:55 am

    I tried this but didn’t work at the beginning for me. Maybe I’ll try it again!

  6. December 30, 2010 9:16 am

    I really , really want to read this one and have been hearing great things about it all over! It also sounds like it’s a really funny book, and I could use one of those right now! Great review, Kathy! I am glad to hear that you loved it!!

  7. Elisabeth permalink
    December 30, 2010 9:27 am

    I loved this book, thanks to blogging I discovered it-I don’t think I would
    have otherwise. Glad you liked it too.

  8. December 30, 2010 9:32 am

    I just started this book last night and thanks to our win from you our book club is discussing it in January. I’m looking forward to the story and the discussion!

  9. stacybuckeye permalink
    December 30, 2010 10:09 am

    Yours is the first review that has made me want to read this!

  10. December 30, 2010 11:46 am

    I have this one planned as one of my first for the New Year, glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  11. December 30, 2010 12:17 pm

    Sounds like a good enough book, and also a book that my library surely would pick up :)

  12. December 30, 2010 12:29 pm

    I really need to get on this book!

  13. December 30, 2010 1:03 pm

    I’m so hoping that I can talk my bookclub into reading this one in the coming year. Glad to hear your club enjoyed it so much.

  14. December 30, 2010 1:52 pm

    i’ve heard some great things about this book and i’m glad your book club enjoyed it too! i’ll have to give this one a try.

  15. December 30, 2010 2:11 pm

    This book has a feel of quaintness that really appeals to me – love the title and the cover. I’d love to read this.

  16. December 30, 2010 2:26 pm

    I will definitely plan to read this book. I love that the characters go on this journey together and there are many layers to their relationship and in the story. I can appreciate a quiet and contemplative read if it catches me at the right moment.

  17. December 30, 2010 2:45 pm

    This sounds like a great book to discuss with a book club. Glad to hear that your book club is going well and that you had a good discussion. This is one that I hope to read in 2011.

  18. December 30, 2010 3:54 pm

    Oh I really want to read this book! It sounds like a fabulous story and my grandparents live in Dorset so that also intrigues me!

  19. December 30, 2010 4:22 pm

    It was a good book. Must have been nice to discuss it with your friends in the book club.

  20. December 30, 2010 4:46 pm

    I have read good things about this book. Will suggest it to my book club.

  21. December 30, 2010 6:39 pm

    This one is going on my list now; I love quiet, contemplative stories. Thank you for sharing, Kathy, and happy happy new year! xo

  22. December 30, 2010 6:57 pm

    I adored this one and am so glad your group loved it!

  23. December 30, 2010 7:17 pm

    This book grew on me as I read it. At first I wasn’t sure what all of the fuss was about, but after I got into the story, I totally understood!

  24. December 30, 2010 9:56 pm

    This sounds great. I hope to read this for the Immigrant Challenge I plan to join.

  25. December 30, 2010 11:41 pm

    I’ve read a number of reviews on this one, and it is one that I’ve been interested to read at some point – not to mention, I really want to see what happens with them. Bibliophile by the Sea is right – the Immigrant Challenge is a great opportunity to read this book!

  26. December 31, 2010 2:13 am

    Sounds like one our book group might enjoy. Thanks.

  27. December 31, 2010 11:29 am

    I put this book on my list to read when I first read about it on the blogs. Your terrifc review makes me certain that thius is a book I want toread. I became interested in imigration and people who move to new countries and different cultures in law school. It’s difficult to move to a foreign place with policies, traditions etc. different from your own and that’s just the start of it. It sounds like Ms. Solomons has written an interesting and poignant story.

    Thank you for a great review, Kathy!
    ~ Amy

  28. January 4, 2011 2:03 pm

    I loved this book! At first I didn’t “get” the exaggeration of the characters, but once I saw that it was written like a fable I got into the rhythm of it (and rooted for their successes).

    Glad your book group enjoyed it — our neighborhood group is reading it next month.

  29. January 6, 2011 3:23 pm

    It sounds like a really good novel, a good way to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes, so to speak. Thanks for the review, I’m going to add this one to my wish list.

  30. January 18, 2011 9:08 pm

    If you haven’t already seen it on other sites, here is my review of the book Kathy. Our book club discussed it last night as well. Thanks again for the win!

    http://sincerelystacie.blogspot.com/2011/01/book-review-mr-rosenblum-dreams-in.html

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