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3.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  50 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
One block. Four neighbors. One very loud problem. Black and white, young and old, men and women, they live in Brooklyn's Boerum Hill, sharing a courtyard in relative harmony. It's what a former mayor liked to call "the urban mosaic." There's Carol Fasone, a secretary enjoying her new marriage to a Bosnian immigrant. There's Mitchell Brett, a Wall Streeter transplanted from ...more
Paperback, 221 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Chicago Review Press (first published April 15th 2007)
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Nov 02, 2007 Kristina rated it liked it
I randomly checked out this book from the New Fiction shelf at the local library. It piqued my interest as it was about an racial/class tension in an urban area, particularly Brooklyn. The story takes place in a really unique area--where upper class people live in luxurious houses and the projects are right around the corner. I found the book to be interesting and different from others that I have read lately. The author develops the lives of 4 characters--a middle class white woman, a yuppie yo ...more
Oct 26, 2007 Anne-Marie rated it liked it
I don't usually go to the library and randomly choose books because my "to-read" list is so long, but I did exactly that last Friday and picked out BoomBox for two reasons. The first being the title, I mean, come on, BoomBox! Yes! Secondly, the cover of the book features a courtyard with separate little garden plots and the idea of that has always appealed to me in a weird way, considering how the thought of working in my own yard doesn't interest me in the least. Cohen tells the story of four d ...more
Jan 15, 2014 Carliegoddard rated it really liked it
A very good fast paced book with an ending I was somewhat surprised with. Set in New York, 4 sets of people live in a small housing complex that provides a garden which is what most of people liked about the place even though houses are very close to each other. Noise starts to become a real issue and we get a glimpse of how these people choose to deal with it. Along the way you meet these people and their own issues of everyday life. I liked it, it wasnt writing at its best, but it was real and ...more
Aug 07, 2011 Malika rated it it was amazing
The story is not the star of the book. "Boombox" IS too short , and I thought the storyline easily warranted a deeper dive. Each story goes from 0 to 60 in a matter of pages. The single woman, the plain wife, and the young husband all have these changes of heart/circumstance that seem to come out of nowhere because they haven't been fully developed. The teen and his mother are also not developed. When this book ended, I was left wondering WHY all of these things happened in the first place.

The s
Feb 03, 2009 Danielle rated it it was ok
This is a novel about a Brooklyn neighborhood where a kid starts playing rap music very loudly, causing strife among the neighbors. I have mixed feelings about this one. The author tackles the sensitive topics of culture clash and gentrification. He makes a valiant effort to portray multiple perspectives, but the characters are basically just an assortment of Brooklyn stereotypes so they don't generate much empathy. It reminded me of Richard Price or Tom Wolfe but without the humor and the snapp ...more
Sep 06, 2008 Christie rated it really liked it
A block in Cobble Hill is changed when one teenaged boy gets a huge stereo. Neighbors join together to get one young black man to turn his music down, but the results are awful; a Wall Streeter accidentally shoots a baby girl in his attempt to scare the young man into behaving responsibly.

I really liked this book; not only because it justified my own opinions about guns, it did an excellent job of addressing the problem of gentrification without getting preachy.
Dr Penner
Nov 30, 2012 Dr Penner rated it liked it
Gabriel Cohen does an exceptional job balancing a variety of characters in this one Brooklyn courtyard. At times is seems to me that there’s not enough attention devoted to each of these characters but I guess that’s the downfall of Cohen’s ambition with this book. I will say it was very interesting to see each of their perspectives and how they played off of each other. Overall, I would recommend this book simply to see all of these unique characters in action.
Dec 04, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
I was actually a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The characters were unique, each with their own growth and issues, and I thought Cohen did a nice job accurately portraying gentrification and racial disparity in Brooklyn, as well as the problems that can surface when tensions rise between four very different neighbors. It's a quick read, but a worthwhile one.
Nov 30, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It is a fast read, but the characters and their individual story lines are well developed.

Each of the characters share a courtyard in Brooklyn and it is a portrayal of the stereotypes and racism that prevent them from becoming a community. The ending is shocking and disturbing, but I highly recommend it.
Feb 18, 2008 Lauren rated it liked it
Like many books, this one suffers from the problem of how it should end. Confronting race in Brooklyn, the book offers a multi-perspective look at one block's everyday experiences, yet the loaded ending seems a bit heavy-handed and does little to respond to the book's questions.
Neighbors in a small area of Brooklyn seem to get along just fine even though they are a diverse bunch but when one young black man buys a new stereo system and proceeds to play rap at a high level the frustration grows to a boiling point during the summer.
Kaite Stover
I read it on the bus home. I thought this book was terrible. It was plodding, had limited and stereotyped characters, and the action didn't pick up until the last three pages. I won't be suggesting this book to anyone.
Dec 05, 2009 Christian rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2007
A first novel set right in my neighborhood. I thought it was an accurate depiction of my part of Brooklyn, but didn’t really say much in the end.
Academy Chicago
Mar 03, 2008 Academy Chicago rated it it was amazing
Spike Lee should stick to Knicks games, because he just got schooled by this novel. (Just kidding, love ya Spike!)
Jul 02, 2009 Jaime rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A really cute book about brooklyn. For sure read it if you live in bk or especially boerum hill.
Blake Nelson
Nov 05, 2007 Blake Nelson rated it it was amazing
urban brooklyn story. back before Brooklyn was just one big Oberlin Alumni Association.
May 18, 2011 Ann rated it did not like it
This story of gentrifying brooklyn had the smell of the gentrifier about it.
Jan 29, 2009 Trick added it
I just read this. It was really good until the end.
Noni D.
Noni D. marked it as to-read
May 09, 2016
John Reilly
John Reilly rated it liked it
Aug 22, 2015
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Ana Paula marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2015
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Aug 21, 2015
Chloe Matthews
Chloe Matthews rated it liked it
May 31, 2016
Alex Day
Alex Day rated it it was ok
Mar 04, 2015
Irma rated it liked it
Dec 21, 2014
Gabriella marked it as to-read
Sep 14, 2014
Jordan Jones
Jordan Jones rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2014
Emily rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2014
Bkophile rated it really liked it
Jan 28, 2014
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Gabriel Cohen’s debut novel Red Hook was nominated for the Edgar award for Best First Novel, and he is also the author of The Ninth Step, The Graving Dock, Boombox, Neptune Avenue, and the nonfiction book Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky: A Buddhist Path Through Divorce. He has written for The New York Times, Poets & Writers,, Shambhala Sun, the New York Post magazine, and Time Out New Yo ...more
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