Jill's Reviews > A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories

A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories by Will Eisner
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's review
Jun 26, 2008

liked it
Recommended for: fans of Jewish history
Read in July, 2008

I read this for a course I'm taking at the local library in July about Jewish literature, identity and imagination - the course is being taught solely through graphic novels. So far, the course is terrible, but this book was intriguing. Since I'm not Jewish, I didn't have a ton of context behind my reading. I found the main story to be allegorical - man is good, makes a contract with god, which all Jews have from birth. Life takes a bad turn, man loses faith and, in the story, literally tosses it out the window, thereby turning hard and mean. The rest of the stories seemed to give a slice of tenement life for Jewish immigrants in the 30s/40s and I found the stories interesting though I'm not entirely sure what they had to do with the "Contract with God". I really liked the drawings and his use of rain and lines to set the tone. Since I love graphic novels, I have to give Eisner props, as this is generally considered the very first. But, I didn't feel particularly moved by the story as a whole.
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