Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is I Named My Dog Pushkin by Margarita Gokun Silver
Expected Release: July 29, 2021
Why wait on this one?
- The simplest thing that drew my attention is that it’s nonfiction. There’s certain nonfiction that I really love when I find it, and I’m hoping this will be one to add to the list.
- I think I’ll love it because it’s a story of immigration and learning new cultures. I always go for those as I love hearing perspective’s different than my own, and Margarita’s perspective of a young adult in the 1980s is already pretty different. Then add in that she’s attempting to leave Soviet Russia with her family and get to America, and that’s quite a different story than my own. It’s one I’m definitely interested in hearing, as I haven’t read much by Russian immigrants and am not super familiar with the time.
- 3 I have to assume from the title and blurb that Margarita is telling her story with a bit of humour. There’s always some humour when you’re learning a whole new culture, and I appreciate when folks can slip some in around the colder difficulties that also come with immigration. I’m happy to learn and empathize, but I also do love a cheeky laugh at the harmless miscommunications and discoveries!
Fake an exit visa, fool the Soviet authorities, pack enough sausage to last through immigration, buy a one-way Aeroflot ticket, and the rest will sort itself out. That was the gist of every Soviet-Jewish immigrant’s plan in the 1980s, Margarita’s included. Despite her father’s protestations that they’d get caught and thrown into a gulag, she convinced her family to follow that plan.
When they arrived in the US, Margarita had a clearly defined objective – become fully American as soon as possible, and leave her Soviet past behind. But she soon learned that finding her new voice was harder than escaping the Soviet secret police.
She finds herself changing her name to fit in, disappointing her parents who expect her to become a doctor, a lawyer, an investment banker and a classical pianist – all at the same time, learning to date without hang-ups (there is no sex in the Soviet Union), parenting her own daughter ‘while too Russian’, and not being able to let go of old habits (never, ever throw anything away because you might use it again). Most importantly, she finds that no matter how hard you try not to become your parents, you end up just like them anyway.