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Jack B. Nimble
on March 28, 2012 :
I just moved to New York City and to get in the big city spirit I decided to read the classic book "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." In my internet search for the book, I happened to come upon this little gem of a book whose title clearly pays homage to Betty Smith's classic. I read the description of "A Hero Grows in Brooklyn," by Jeffrey Rubin and decided to give 'er a shot. I was not disappointed one bit. The author really invokes a tremendous amount of emotion as the reader is entered into a world filled with laughter and wonder as well as great anger and sadness.
Though the book takes place in the 1960's, it in no way at any point felt dated to me. I am only 23 years old so the book takes place well before my time. The thing that drew me into the pages though is that I have always felt a great nostalgia for the time period of the 1960's--the music, the movement throughout the country for social change, and even the world of sports at the time. Few Americans don't think of Mickey Mantle as a great legend and we even get to meet up with the Yankee great early on in the book. "A Hero Grows in Brooklyn," really brings to life extremely vividly what it was to grow up in a big city during this time.
I'd say the main theme of the book is this idea of respect. Growing up, we all try hard to earn a good reputation in order to ensure a good standing within our social communities. It is extremely clear within our society though that very few people really know how best to act in order to earn a great deal of respect from the people around them. The protagonist Steve Marino in this book acts as a character who really makes us question what really is the best way to handle certain situations- from just minor disagreements to extremely heavy, dangerous, and difficult conflicts-if we really desire to be well respected as an individual.
I personally feel like, due to this book, I am far better at handling myself when potential disagreements with others come about and I also just feel like I am a better human being overall just due to the amount of questioning of values that this book presents to the reader. I think the book would be a great read for any age and it was a real pleasure reading it as well as reviewing it, reflecting back upon the beautiful world Jeffrey Rubin has created in "A Hero Grows in Brooklyn."
P.S. This guy Jeffrey Rubin also has a really good blog which talks a lot about earning respect and handling conflicts with others that you should absolutely check out. The link is http://drjeffreyrubin.wordpress.com/...Happy Reading.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on March 08, 2012 :
Having grown up in a Bronx ethnic neighborhood, I am always on the lookout for coming of age stories and films set in that kind of world. For example, A BRONX TALE is one of my favorite films. Jeff Rubin's novel, A HERO GROWS IN BROOKLYN, certainly meets my needs: strong period details, easy pacing, memorable characters, and strong plot. I would think this would be an excellent teaching novel for teenagers, but there is much here for adults to consider as well. There is no way this novel could have been written unless the author drew on personal experiences and I applaud him for selecting those experiences intelligently and shaping them into a first-rate read.
(reviewed the day of purchase)