We Never Told

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We Never Told is Sonya Adler’s coming-of-age story. Set in the 1950s, life in general was much different than it is now. For starters, divorce was very frowned upon. The majority of the story starts with the Adler family—Seymour, Violet, Joan, and Sonya. Seymour, Sonya’s father, worked in NYC in the film industry, and Violet, her mother, stayed home. Sonya’s parents had been happier in the past, but at the moment, Violet is done with her marriage and ready for a divorce from her 15-years-her-senior husband, “while I’ve still got my looks.” A messy divorce begins, which ends with Violet moving out of the house and acquiring an apartment with the girls at the help of her wealthy parents. After the divorce, her daughters lost most of their respect for their mother, feeling like she didn’t take their feelings into consideration during the whole ordeal, even landing them in Children’s Court over different issues. Many aspects of growing up for the girls occurred during the years of settling the divorce, as well as during the final separation.

Another thing to remember about the 1950s, is that having a child out of wedlock was also very frowned upon, which resulted in the act of many abortions being performed, or children put up for adoption. Many women stayed home while the husband worked, and their status in the community was held very high among each other. At the ages of fifteen and sixteen, Violet told her daughters that she would be traveling to a hospital for several months in order to remove a “tumor.” At their age, they took her words at face-value and were left for months to fend for themselves along with their maid Ruby. Fast forward to the current day for the family, and they have all experienced their share of gains and losses. After the passing of their mother, Sonya discovers a secret that Violet has kept to herself for many years, and one that could change the lives of each member of her family.

I enjoyed Diana Altman’s novel. I enjoyed how it went through the years of all the characters with enough details about specific events, and how it would then pass through time to the next big event without details of day-to-day monotony in-between. I had a hard time feeling very sympathetic towards Violet based on how she acted as a mother, daughter, and friend to others. I am surprised her daughters kept the amount of love towards their mother that they did, but that might show the power of a mother-daughter relationship. I can see this book being read by young adults through all ages, especially those who enjoy historical fiction as this novel is set throughout several decades and showcases how culture changes, and in Sonya’s case, how women are viewed and behave.


Reviewed By:

Author Diana Altman
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 296 pages
Publisher SheWrites Press
Publish Date 2019-06-11
ISBN 9781631525430
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2019
Category Popular Fiction
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