The Library Lady's Reviews > Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge by Karen Hesse
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's review
Jan 03, 2009

did not like it

Okay, here I go again swimming against the chorus of critics, many of whom I think are biased once an author has won an award or two (or three).

First of all, there is too much here I've read before. There's the gruff relative with a secret heart of gold doing good works--that's Uncle Chris in Kathryn Forbes' "Mama's Bank Account". There's characters and plotlines from"All of A Kind Family and even "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn"

Then there's the fact that this book has multiple personality disorder.
There's the historical fiction/family story. There's the tales of poor kids living under the bridge. There's some sort of ghost story. They DO tie together, but only at the very end and just barely and not in a satisfying way. It makes the whole thing disjointed.

Perhaps librarians, teachers and other adults who read this book will get a lot from it. But I don't think kids will have the patience to do so.
Karen Hesse can write characters that live vividly--even when she does it in blank verse.
But that's just not the case with this book.
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Wendy I just read this also. See, I thought the book would have been better if the two stories (after all, the ghost story is the same as the under-the-bridge story) had never tied together; that's what I thought she was doing, in fact, just reminding us that while Joseph had a pretty good life, things were not all rosy in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn.

But ONE star? You really didn't think it was good at all? That surprises me. I thought it was better-written than many books I've read this year, as well as more readable and lively than most of the well-written ones. I'm not a Karen Hesse fan, particularly not of Out of the Dust, so I don't think I have any bias there.

I do agree with you that there isn't a whole lot here to keep most kids reading, though.

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