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Warner, Oct 2003, 14.00, 400 pp.
Jewish fine mustard heiress Poppy Minkel tells her twentieth century autobiography starting when her father dies while sailing on the Titanic. She grieves her loss, but continues her myopic observations of the world's great events over the next five decades.
During that time she married a womanizer she met in a department store. She gave birth to their child. However, his philandering led to her divorcing him, an unheard of event back in the early twentieth century. Later she does another social shocker when she lives out of wedlock with an ultra-extended member of the British royals. When she becomes pregnant, she marries for the second time into a happier situation. By the 1970s, Poppy is an aging widow who reflects back on her life influenced by her stepbrother (with an assist by Satchel Paige) that "you have to look ahead and not behind."
Though amusing in an acerbic way, this autobiographical fiction uses an individual to present the “People's Century". The story line is clever, but it is difficult to accept Poppy's caustic personality through six plus decades. Title aside (not a romance by any stretch) this is a solid often funny look back at the twentieth century, but those who really want something in depth should try the People's Century videos.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner