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The Jew Store by Stella Suberman
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The Jew Store (1998)

by Stella Suberman

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This is a fascinating memoir of growing up in the Deep South during the 1920's. The Bronson family has to deal with layer after layer of American culture, first in New York City, where they find a tight immigrant community, and then in rural Tennessee where they are the only Russian Jewish immigrants and complete outsiders. ( )
  jkrnomad | Jul 1, 2016 |
Interesting, not great. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
In the South every town had a "Jew Store;" a place that sold low-priced goods to factqory workers, farmers, and even blacks (if only through the back door by the alley). Stella. Suberman's memoir tells the story of her fsmily's store in a small town in Tennessee and is rich with the details of small town southern life in the 1920's & 1930's when Jews were unusual, exotic creatures - not trusted and with a status hardly higher than the black people they routinely ordered about.

I frequently gots aggravated at Ma. Suberman's mother, who had the hardest time adapting of Athe whole family, but when I considered just how difficult it is to be different in a small town anywhere, especially I. The South and I became more charitable in my assessment.

Filled with detail and written with bittersweet affection, this was a heartwarming read. ( )
  etxgardener | Sep 8, 2012 |
I read this book a second time for a different book group. I was not looking forward to it, but the poor writing did not bother me as much as previously, and I found the writer's life and comments as a member of the only Jewish family in a Southern town quite interesting. ( )
  suesbooks | Jan 27, 2010 |
This is not a book that I would ever have picked up on my own. In fact, I dreaded having to read it. At the risk of sounding racist (which I most assuredly am not), I was afraid of another sad book about the horrible trials that a minority group has to weather. Instead, I found a truly delightful memoir. Aaron Bronson (nee Avram Droskowitz) left Russia for America, married a nice Jewish girl in New York, then headed south to Nashville. Apparently, in 1920s America, the dry goods stores in small towns were usually owned by Jews and called "the Jew store." The family moves to a small Tennessee town (Suberman has changed the name of the town and its inhabitants) and opens "Bronson's Low-Priced Store."
I think what I liked best about the book was the combination of ups and downs experienced by the family. They were part of the community, and became an integral part of the town's life. Yes, there were challenges, and they aren't glossed over, but there is always the mindset that this is how things happened at that time and place. A very enjoyable read. ( )
1 vote tloeffler | May 25, 2009 |
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The Bronsons were the first Jews to ever live in the small town of Concordia, Tennessee-a town consisting of one main street, one bank, one drugstore, one picture show, one feed and seed, one hardware store, one beauty parlor, one barber shop, one blacksmith, and many Christian churches. That didn't stop Aaron Bronson, a Russian immigrant, from moving his young family out of New York by horse and wagon and journeying to this remote corner of the South to open a small dry goods store, Bronson's Low-Priced Store. Never mind that he was greeted with Danged if I ever heard tell of a Jew storekeeper afore. Never mind that all the townspeople were suspicious of any strangers. Never mind that the Klan actively discouraged the presence of outsiders. Aaron Bronson bravely established a business and proved in the process that his family could make a home, and a life, anywhere. With great fondness and a fine dry wit, Stella Suberman tells the story of her family in an account that Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, described as a gem...Vividly told and captivating in its humanity. Now available for the first time in paperback, here is the book that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said was forthright. . . . not a revisionist history of Jewish life in the small-town South but . . . written within the context of the 1920s, making it valuable history as well as a moving family story.… (more)

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