Ella Of All-Of-A-Kind Family

by Sydney Taylor

Paperback, 2014



Local notes





Lizzie Skurnick Books (2014), Paperback, 200 pages


When Jules comes to see her after his return from the war, Ella finds it difficult to have some time alone with him.

Original publication date


Physical description

163 p.; 5.25 x 0.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
As the title would indicate, author Sydney Taylor focuses on the eponymous Ella in this, her fifth and final novel devoted to the doings of a loving, close-knit Jewish family living in New York City in the early years of the twentieth century. The book opens some six months after the conclusion of
Show More
All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown, which ended with Jules and the other American soldiers coming home from World War I. Although there are occasional chapters devoted to the doings of some of her siblings - Henny running for office in her school's elections, Charlie playing a dangerous street game with some older boys - the main narrative focus here is on Ella, who is torn between her desire for a career in singing, and her love for Jules, and longing to make a home with him. As she takes a job with a vaudeville act, she must struggle with this choice...

Apparently many readers dislike this final entry in Taylor's series, which was written some time after the others (all penned in the 1950s), and first published in 1978. For my part, although I do not love it quite as much as its predecessors, I do find it an engaging tale, and have always enjoyed it. I have fond memories, moreover, of discovering it in the window of one of the New York Public Library's branch locations as a girl, when my mother brought me into the city on one of those "take your child to work" days. Although I understand that many readers have found Taylor's resolution of the main narrative question - Ella decides to give up her career on the stage, because she misses Jules so much, and wants to be with him - unsatisfying, or even sexist, I think that it reflects an issue that women continue to grapple with, to this day, and depicts it in a sensitive, nuanced way. Taylor never makes it an easy choice, depicting the pros and cons of both options. Nor does she present the necessity of the choice itself as desirable, acknowledging that there is a selfishness behind it all, a way in which women are expected to put others first in ways that men are not.

All in all, an enjoyable conclusion to the series, and to my recent rereading project. My only regret is that Taylor never got to the subsequent volumes she had planned, devoted to each of the other sisters. Sadly, she died before she had a chance to write them. Highly recommended, to anyone who has read and enjoyed the other All-of-a-Kind Family books.
Show Less
LibraryThing member neferset
The last in the All of a Kind series and somehow it was lacking a lot of the charm of the earlier volumes. The main focus was on eighteen year old Ella, the eldest and her decision to star in a vaudeville production in pursuit of a music career.

To top it all off, Mama is expecting another child
Show More
and while I realize that in that era it wasn't all that rare to have kids that were as much as eighteen years apart, I just felt it was a contrived plot device and since the book ended before Mama had the baby, I wonder, 'why bother?'
Show Less
LibraryThing member Bjace
Ella, the oldest of the All-of-a-kinds, is grown up and in love, but still wants to try her wings as a singer and performer. In this book she goes on the stage and discovers what her true calling is. Not as good as the other books, but still nice. I wish the series hadn't ended here.
LibraryThing member satyridae
This wasn't as bad as Downtown but it wasn't very good, either. The illustrations were terrible. Seriously bad. The story is not fresh, the plot line is predictable. It's more or less phoned in.

Interesting how the bad books in this series are accompanied by the bad illustrations. Or what look to
Show More
me like bad illustrations.
Show Less
LibraryThing member suesbooks
This was a fine way to finish the series with my grandchild. It gave us much to speak about, especially regarding the role of women. At that time, Ella took an appropriate turn, being very aware of her desires.




½ (62 ratings; 3.5)
Page: 0.2589 seconds