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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
Goodbye Russia, Hello America by Janet S. Kleinman is a moving fictional depiction of a family of Russian immigrants. It is a wonderful story of how they adjust to and become a part of their new country. Life had been difficult in Russia and Ida's family was trying to leave the old country for a new and safer place. She unwillingly left her oldest son, Yehuda, and his family in Brest, and sailed with her two younger sons, Rubin and Jack, to begin new lives in America. Louis and Nathan, Ida's second and third sons, had gone ahead of them. They sent money back home to Ida. With the money they sent, Ida, Jack, and Rubin arrive in New York a few years prior to the Depression. Together as a family, they endeavor to build their own businesses and gain financial security. They continue sending money to Yehuda so that he and his family can join them, but as the Depression tightens their belts, they can no longer send him anything. Just as they came out of the years of deprivation of the Depression, the war breaks out in Europe. Now they no longer hear from Yehuda or his family, and Jack, the youngest son is conscripted into the army and sent overseas. What has happened to Yehuda and his family? Will Jack make it home in one piece?
Goodbye Russia, Hello America by Janet S. Kleinman is a gripping novel about courageous and extraordinary people who cross the ocean and face the unknown. I loved reading this wonderful book. The story was touching and relatable. It made me cry in several places, especially when Jack sees the camp refugees trying to find home. It is a wonderful story that describes the feelings and struggles of those who were brave enough to leave what they have known all their lives and start again with nothing. The book portrays the family in a heart-warming and realistic manner. It depicts the way they clash amongst themselves while striving to adjust in a foreign land, never forgetting those who have been left behind and grieving for their loss. I admired Ida and her family and how they united, despite their differences, to survive and prosper. This fiction novel is a poignant portrayal of Jewish immigrants arriving in America during a historically momentous era. I recommend it to those who love a good story and are fans of historical novels.