Bessie: A Novel

We rated this book:


Inspired by the true story of Bess Myerson, Bessie begins in 1936, when an overly tall twelve-year-old Jewish girl is cast as Olive Oyl in a school play. After bemoaning the fate her physique has given her, she dives into research, finding some strength in the older Popeye strips and a way to make Olive Oyl her own.

Less than ten years later, she is Miss New York, prepared to become the first Jewish Miss America.

Bessie only focuses on Bess Myerson’s early life, from adolescence through the end of the war. In her, Kass has given us a heroine who grows and adapts to a changing, difficult world, blossoming from an uncertain teen to an ambitious young woman. This would be a good book for high school readers interested in women’s history, especially of the 1940s. Adults may find the narration rather flat and simplistic. While reading, I looked up Bess Myerson, and I felt the book ended before the really interesting part of her life began.

I would recommend this book to teenagers, mostly to those who are still growing into themselves. I think they will get the most out of it.

Reviewed By:

Author Linda Kass
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher She Writes Press
Publish Date 12-Sep-2023
ISBN 9781647425401 Buy this Book
Issue November 2023
Category Historical Fiction