Books: The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life through the Pages of a Lost JournalWhy I am recommending this book:
A good summer read should offer a bit of adventurous and should inspire fantasy. The Red Leather Diary leads me willingly into another time and place where I can assume an appealing identity that allows my imagination to wander for an afternoon.
Journalist Koppel found the inspiration for this book, based on her 2006 New York Times article, after discovering Florence Wolfson's diary in a Manhattan dumpster. Koppel eventually locates Florence in Florida and surprises the 90-year-old with this artifact from her past, which reveals her views on growing up as an intelligent, ambitious and creative teenager on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 1930s. Florence received the diary as a present on her 14th birthday. She recorded everything from her first kiss (with a boy) to her crush on actress Eva Le Galliene (which led her to question her sexuality) to her passion for writing and art. The diary acts as a window into a fascinating and privileged world, one that Koppel tries to recreate by writing in a novelistic way, using no more than snippets of text from Florence's diary and, we can presume, multiple interviews as support. The result, which some readers may find frustrating and others rewarding, is that the original inspiration-the diary itself-becomes no more than a starting point for a much larger story: that of Florence's life.