Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jan Gilman

Another book review is here! Can you believe it? It's about the middle of summer already! Kind of crazy. Seems like the older I get, the more time just likes to fly by. Hopefully it slows down, just for a while. Anyways, if I'm not working three job, or at school/doing school work, I'm at the book store picking out a new read. Here in Dallas, we have a huge flagship Half Price Books! If you ever visit Dallas, and you love reading books, you need to visit this place! I originally found this book at Target as a Target Club Pick, but wanted to save money, so headed over to Half Price. As usual, (especially at this Half Price), I found what I wanted. Onto the review! (SPOILER ALERT)!

A Little Bit of Background

 The Ice Cream Cream of Orchard Street was written by New York Times bestselling author, Susan Jane Gilman. This book was Gilman's debut novel in 2014 and has been praised by various publications, including Publishers Weekly and USA Today. Her book contains a story about a Russian immigrant girl during the early 1910's, whose family ends up in America, rather than Africa where they originally planned. Things get out of hand and she ends up becoming crippled on one leg due to an accdient. A Italian Ice man decided to take her in as his own and the rest is history.

What Was Enjoyable

First off, this book was hard to put down. I brought it with me to my summer classes and almost evrywhere I went, because a little downtown meant a little more reading. Gilman creates this portal, where you don't want to come out of. The writing style and story are to blame. You just want to know what happens next to this little Russian girl turned Italian. 

"His attention, it felt like liquid love, like apples and honey pouring down on me (Gilman 19)."

Second, you watch the character grow. The story starts off with Malka, the main little girl, and you follow her immigrant story until about 80 years old. Her story is incredible and her growth is fascinating to watch. You read how she starts to change and her attitude towards people and dreams grows and she grows, it's beautiful really.

Third,  this is an immigrant story you probably have not heard of. This is an ice cream industry story. I learned about things that I never knew, like how ice cream men, to save money, would serve there ice cream the whole day using one cup! That's crazy! Also, the way the Russians in the stroy talked about America, how the streets were made of gold and they give out honey and bread to everyone, it kind of made me sad, because I knew that once they went to America, they would feel so disappointed. 

What Was Least Enjoyable 

There was nothing not to really like about this book. The only thing was how sad it got in different parts of the book. How children girls were viewed only as assest, how parents only wanted their kids as meal money  and how we take for grantide chocolate now-a-days. I think a big things that made me sad was realizing, once again, that kids were not kids back then:

 "We set out together, my father and I: he in his black coat and the dark saucer of his hat, I tiny beside him, a small child dressed the way all children dressed in those days-like miniature adults-in a long frayed skirt, a little hand-crocheted shawl, my horrid gray coat (Gilman 14)."
But just because there were sad parts, doesn't mean they were bad. The sad parts were also very intriguing to read.


 Overall, this was an incredible book to read. It will make you laugh and it will make you sad, might even make you cry. It's an incredible immigrant story that takes you through a different time that we take for granite. If you would like a copy of the book, you can try your local Half Price Books, or pick a new copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, or a local bookstore. Have a fun summer reading!