No Buts, Becky! by Jose Patterson
No Buts, Becky! is a period novel set in the East End of London in 1908. It describes the tenement life of a Yiddish-speaking Russian Jewish family who, like many others, escaped to England from the widespread killing of innocent Jews, known as pogroms.The heroine, eleven-year-old Becky, and her young brother Yossie, live with their widowed father, Jacob Feldman, and their elderly grandmother Bubbe.
Becky is shocked to discover that, following the custom of the time, her father has hired a matchmaker to find him a new wife. Becky takes an instant dislike to Mrs Haffner – the prospective ‘new mother’ – and is determined at all costs to prevent the match from taking place. She concocts several reckless and often hilariously brilliant schemes in order to wreck her father’s marriage plans.
At the end of each chapter, Becky confides the secrets of her heart in imaginary letters to her late mother. No Buts, Becky! is an amusing and heartwarming work of historical children’s fiction that will appeal to children aged 9-11. José explores a subject not often documented – the way of life and cultural traditions of hard-working poor Russian Jewish refugees who escaped to London 150 years ago – in a delightful way. Becky Feldman is a feisty, rebellious young heroine who many girls will be able to relate to.
Paperback book 2013