Sjcapanna's Reviews > Elizabeth Street: A novel based on true events

Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano
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U_50x66
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Jan 17, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Read in January, 2011

What a disappointing way to start my 2011 reading list. I got this book because it was $4 on the Kindle, and I thought I might have stumbled on some hidden gem. Hidden? Yes. Gem? No.

This is a book about immigrants living in tenements in the 1900s, so I thought it might be like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It was not, in that Tree was good. Also it's about Italian immigrants, so I thought it might give me some insight into what it was like for my ancestors. And maybe it did. It was very Mafia-heavy, which was probably realistic.

The problem was somehow in the pacing of the story. Like, first of all, it seemed to be three separate short stories that happened to be about the same people. (Which, in the author's defense, it was a true-life novel based on events that happened to her grandparents, and people's lives are kind of more of a series of phases than one coherent story.) Second, the author gave away the big drama way too early (in the form of "Oh now it's 1966 and I'm just talking to my grandma about her life in 1909"), and gave away about how long it was going to take to resolve this drama. So, it's like I'm going along thinking, I know this attempt to solve the problem won't be successful, because the grandma said they didn't solve the problem until such-and-such a point. That took a lot of suspense out of the book and made it kind of a major chore to read.
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