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Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale
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Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,122 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
Against a backdrop of racial tensions and spanning four decades, Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale explores the entanglements of three lives: Joshua Eubanks, a young black man struggling to overcome the crime, drugs, and despair of the streets; Rachel Weissman, daughter of a Hassidic rabbi, wrestling pangs of rebelliousness against the insular and restrictive practices of her religi ...more
Paperback, 484 pages
Published December 5th 2011 by Abbott Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,178)
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Sylvia Sierra
Jun 20, 2015 Sylvia Sierra rated it did not like it
I hated this book. I felt committed to finishing it once I'd started because the plot had promise, and I had ILL'd it from a distant library after hearing it was good. It was so predictable though - every time a scene started out nice, with an optimistic description, something terrible would happen. That got very repetitive. The characters' dialogue was terrible. It was flat and unbelievable. The author would also do this annoying thing where a character would say something, like "I don't know" ...more
Kati Berman
Jan 05, 2014 Kati Berman rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books, you can't put down and then you are sorry when it is finished. Through three main characters, Joshua, Rachel and Paul/Pincas the reader is taken to Brooklyn, NY from the late 1950's to the 1991 Crown Heights riots. It describes the changing neighborhoods, the life of the Lubbavitcher Hasidic Jews , their isolation from main stream society and their relationship to the African American community. Prejudices are deep set not only between the Jews and the blacks, but eve ...more
Carol Lief
Jan 04, 2015 Carol Lief rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Hennessy
The time period and setting of this story are what interested me in this book - so much happened in that time period that I was intrigued. The framework of the story was very good but unfortunately I found no depth to the characters or the events as they were told. I needed a better connection with Joshua and Rachel to really give meaning to living in Brooklyn at that time with the very difficult and very real racial tensions, because we do know that they were very difficult and very real.
Lisa DeViney
Sep 30, 2015 Lisa DeViney rated it it was amazing
this book was brilliant... multi-layered, complicated, engaging, page-turning... spanned several decades across bed-stuy and crown heights, brooklyn, into long island, exploring racial tension and engagement between black and hasidic communities. tragic and beautiful. absolutely loved it.
Sharon Weissman
Aug 13, 2014 Sharon Weissman rated it it was amazing
Wow. Love story mixed with the never ending issues between race and religion. Historical fiction ... Makes you wonder how such events could happen but based on current events I guess it's not so unbelievable.
Nov 04, 2014 MA rated it liked it
Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale was an interesting story with lots of potential. Perhaps it was too ambitious. The author brings nothing original to the way he tells this story that wasn’t well written.
Oct 25, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable page-turner. Andrew Kane introduces the reader to two very different communities in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn: orthodox Jewish Hassidim and African Americans and the tensions that plague the area. His characters are well-drawn: Rachel, the daughter of a rabbi, has early dreams of becoming a doctor, but her wishes run counter to her family's and religious community's mores and rules. Paul, the son of a wealthy secular Jewish family from Long Island turns to religi ...more
Mar 18, 2015 Hope rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to get to know and keep the characters straight. I enjoyed the story but it made me sad to read about such racial tension. Growing up in New York I was able to relate to the diversified neighborhood however I never witnessed the problems as in the book. I was very sad at the end however. I didn't really expect that ending.
Feb 06, 2014 Louise rated it really liked it
I gave up on this book after the first third as I found it too difficult to believe and the early depiction of the characters seemed too stereotypical. Then a friend recommended I return to it and I am delighted that I did. Joshua is a Black boy growing up in Brooklyn. He has a strong hardworking mother and no father. His youth is spent getting into trouble with petty (and then major) crime and getting into an early sexual relationship. His misdeeds lead to his being assigned to work as a cleane ...more
Juliet Lewin
Aug 21, 2013 Juliet Lewin rated it it was amazing
My favourite books always tell me a little something about a time or place I don't know enough about and bring me into that world - as well as having great plot and characterisation. This book ticks all those boxes. If I was to find any faults it would be that Paul/Pinkus' character was hard to understand after the first half of the book...otherwise brilliant!
Apr 04, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it
The story started slow and it took me a week or so to really pick it up and read it regularly. I enjoyed the story - unlike anything I have read in some time. I enjoyed reading about the Hasidim - it is a culture that has always fascinated me. It's a long story that spans about 20 years. I recommend it if you are looking for something different.
Feb 06, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish-fiction
I gave this book 4 stars - not because it is wonderfully written but it is a good story - set in Brooklyn when there was a lot of tension. Found both the history and the story interesting although a little implausible but again - truth can be strange then so can fiction. In all - did enjoy reading this book.
Nov 11, 2015 Linda rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 17, 2016 Judy rated it it was ok
My sister told me to read this because she LOVED it... I guess we have different taste in books. It wasn't bad but my biggest complaint is that the writing was really simple and dumbed down. The plot is based on a chronicle of true events in Brooklyn in the 80s with the racial tension between the hasidic jews and african americans. I don't know how true to fact it really is, but I am sure this is not the way to learn about this piece of history. It also contains a plot line that I will not divul ...more
Michelle Robbins markow
Mar 17, 2015 Michelle Robbins markow rated it it was amazing
This book took my breath away. Was it eloquent, beautiful prose? No, but the characters, back stories and commentary on race relations in Brooklyn were captivating. I was engrossed from beginning to end.
Gail Nelson
May 22, 2016 Gail Nelson rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars! Powerful and engrossing story. Found myself rooting for these characters all the way until the end!
Jul 28, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it
Great story, but not very well written. If I could give 3.5 stars I would.
Mar 12, 2015 Joan rated it liked it
It was fine. But add a star if you grew up in Brooklyn.
Feb 21, 2014 Jools rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It is a story which takes place in a specific historical era around real events - the characters being fictional. The author manages to convey the atmosphere of the time in New York, culminating in the 1991 riots in Crown Heights. Tracing the lives of several inter-linking characters the Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale illustrates the tensions and fraught-ness of New York and it's highly charged racial divisions and difficulties.

As a White British Woman there is much I don't understa
Compiled with great character development, an expansive timeframe, excellent detail about complex cultures, and a little known piece of history - this is indeed a solid read and will provide lots of fuel for a vibrant book club discussion. My only criticisms include the novel's length (some editing would have trimmed at least 75 pages off of the novel and prevented the need for both an epilogue and postscript), as well as the overall depressing mood of the book. I swear that every single human a ...more
Jun 13, 2015 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read the book with intense interest , heading every word concerned about misunderstanding and injustice. Love must have no boundaries tolerance and forgiveness must be a part of who we are and what our world must become. Joshua and Rachel are well developed characters who teach us so much the world would have been a beautiful place they could have shared their love for all the world to see
Sep 12, 2014 Dad rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderfully written novel based on some facts - it takes place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and when I saw it at a sale in my library, I just had to buy it. It was well worth the 50 cents. It was very nostalgic for me to read about the street I grew up on, and the surrounding streets and landmarks that made up the neighborhood.

Aside from that Mr Kane put a lot of thought into the characterizations of each person. They were very realistic and he knows a great deal of Hassidic life as we
Jul 19, 2015 Alexandra rated it it was ok
I couldn't get past the first 100 pages, I'm sure the story line is good but way too many unnecessary details and I just do not like the writing style at all. If you are from Crown Heights or know about the Jewish faith I think you would appreciate this book a lot more despite the writing style. It doesn't read very well for my unfortunately.
esther benezra
Feb 07, 2015 esther benezra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful and emotional!

A tale of many kinds of love and many kinds of hate.
I found the resilience of the characters to create a life
Regardless of the life they were dealt and whatever the circumstances amazing. From the Holocaust and bigotry
For race each fought to .survive and lead a life worth living.
May 08, 2016 Chana rated it did not like it
I found this book to be very stereotypical and predictable. I wonder why the author chose to represent a dynamic, embracing, Chasidic community that has influenced world Jewry as close - minded and fanatical. It makes me doubt the perspective on many of the "historical" events discussed here.
Sep 08, 2014 Jane rated it it was amazing
This book took place over several decades, the 60's, 70's, 80's, and early 90's in the Crown Heights part of Brooklyn where racial tensions between African-Americans and Hasidic Jews increased. While I thought some of the characters were stereotyped, I still enjoyed the entire story and setting.
Jan 30, 2015 ANNE E MORIN rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Street Smarts

If we don' t know anything about the people of our cities, their culture and traditions, and if we don't respect them as who they are, we will never solve any of the problems we all face. This story is a first step toward educating ourselves.
Feb 24, 2014 Harmony rated it really liked it
3.5 stars really

Started slow but by then couldn't put it down. Thought the Joshua character made some unrealistic moves w $ in the beginning and not sure he and Rachel's relationship would have survived that long. Also the Esther character never really came back....
Sep 29, 2015 Suesnews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished a reading marathon. I could not put this book down. This was not brilliant writing by any means. Yet the subject matter was so interesting. Here's a tip : DO NOT ATTEMPT TO COMPLETE THE BOOK WITHOUT AN ENTIRE BOX OF KLEENEX !!!
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