I Named My Dog Pushkin (And Oth­er Immi­grant Tales) by Mar­gari­ta Gokun Silver

I Named My Dog Pushkin (And Oth­er Immi­grant Tales) by Mar­gari­ta Gokun Silver

Notes From a Sovi­et Girl on Becom­ing an Amer­i­can Woman

Buy a pair of Levi’s, lose the Russian accent, become an American…how hard could it be?

Moscow, 1988. After years of antisemitic harassment, countless hours waiting in line for toilet paper, and having zero access to cool jeans, Margarita decides it’s time to get the hell out of the Soviet Union. While dreaming of buying the boat-sized Buick she’d seen in a pirated VHS of Miami Vice and getting a taste of whatever it is Bruce Springsteen is singing about, she comes up with a plan to escape Mother Russia for good.

When Margarita arrives in the US with her family, she has one objective – become fully American as soon as possible, and leave her Soviet past behind. But she soon learns that finding her new voice is harder than avoiding the KGB.

Because, how do you become someone else completely? Is it as simple as changing your name, upgrading your wardrobe and working on your pronunciation of the word ‘sheet’? Can you let go of old habits (never, ever throw anything away), or learn to date without hang-ups (‘there is no sex in the Soviet Union’ after all)? Will you ever stop disappointing your parents, who expect you to become a doctor, a lawyer, an investment banker and a classical pianist – all at the same time? And can you still become the person you dreamed you’d be, while learning to embrace parts of yourself you’ve wanted to discard for good when you immigrated?

Absolutely hilarious, painfully honest and sometimes heart-breaking, the award-winning I Named My Dog Pushkin will have fans of David Sedaris and Samantha Irby howling with laughter at Margarita’s failures, her victories and the life lessons she learns as she grows as both a woman and an immigrant, in a world that often doesn’t appreciate either.

Year first published: 2021

Read a review on Jewish Book Council

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