Book Review: ‘Manhattan Beach’ Looks At One Family’s Life During WWII

Jennifer Egan is back with a heartfelt family story set in the time of World War II and how one girl grows up into being a woman and how she has to deal with being a woman in a mans world.

Anna Keerigan lives with her mother and father and sister who has a medical condition in New York. Her family is struggling financially since the depression. Her dad works for a powerful man who has connections in the city. The story starts our with Anna going with her father to meet his boss Dexter Styles on Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn (it was common to bring your family to such meetings).

Jump ahead a few years and Anna’s father has taken off from the family and disappeared. No ones knows if he’s alive or dead. With the war happening Anna gets a job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to help support her Mother and Sister. Anna wants more for herself and soon watches the men that are part of the diving team that work on the ships. She wants to do this but is told no because she’s a woman. She is determined and is given a tryout. She does better then a lot of the men. She is soon hired on as a diver.

She also starts going out a little bit and soon ends up at Dexter Styles club. He doesn’t have a clue who she is but he remembers that day years ago on the beach. Even though he’s married, he starts wooing her. She hopes he can tell her about her father. One thing leads to another and she soon finds herself pregnant. She has no where to turn and has to come up with a plan fast. Also what happened to her father is also revealed to the reader.

A great look at life from the late 20’s through WW II in New York City. Great characters with a strong woman who you root for because she won’t take no for answer.

You can pick up Manhattan Beach in stores Tuesday, October 3rd from Scribner.

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