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Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  69 reviews
There's a rule at Mike's Place: never, ever talk politics or religion. At this blues bar on the Tel Aviv beachfront, an international cast of characters mingles with the locals, and everyone is welcome to grab a beer and forget the conflict outside. At least, that's the story Jack and Joshua want to tell in their documentary.
But less than a month after they begin filming,
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by First Second (first published May 1st 2015)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  314 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Start your review of Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv
Nicola Mansfield
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
A true story based on the authors' experience in Israel, 2003. It centres around two men who are making a documentary about Mike's Place, a bar where all people, of any religion or politics are welcome, but the same are always left outside the door as Mike's is a place where people let it hang loose and be themselves, getting along with each other as fellow people. Just by looking at the cover of the book the reader knows something horrific is going to happen and most of the book leads up to ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Schaafsma
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-history
An account of actual events, a 2003 suicide bombing at a popular bar in Tel Aviv known for being open to all religions and perspectives. Leave your politics at the door kinda place. Rare? In Tel Aviv, in the middle east, very rare. Each section is countered by quotations from the Qu'ran that counter the assumptions of the terrorists and the organization that sponsored the attack. It's essentially the most political statement the book makes.

Filmmakers were making a documentary of the bar when
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I finished reading Mike's Place, a graphic novel about a terrorist attack at a Tel Aviv, the night before a shooting occurred at a bar in that city. While it's a strange coincidence, these acts of terror are all too common in Israel and it's important for the world to understand these senseless attacks are not singularities.

Despite the fact that Israel and its people live under the constant threat of terrorism, the characters at Mike's Place are hopeful and determined. One of the characters
Ben Truong
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv is an autobiographical graphic novel written by the team of Jack Baxter and Joshua Faudem and illustrated by Koren Shadmi. This graphic novel memoir recounts the last days of Jack Baxter in Tel Aviv, while filming a documentary about Mike's Place.

Jack Baxter, American journalist, and his young filmmaker Joshua Faudem are celebrating their last day in Tel Aviv, after a successful filming of their documentary about Mike's Place, a
Jonathan A.  Green
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
It showed me a glimpse of reality when it came to Israel and the threats they face in day-to-day life.
Stewart Tame
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
As the subtitle says, a true story. Mike's Place is a blues bar in Tel Aviv, and was the site of a suicide bombing. The story covers the events leading up to--with plenty of foreshadowing--and including the bombing, as well as the aftermath, as life gradually returns to normal. By focusing on a single event in such detail, this graphic novel packs more of an emotional punch than a hundred nightly news reports ever could. At times harrowing, this book is definitely worth reading for anyone trying ...more
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
This is everything I want from a nonfiction graphic novel. Learning about something I may not have known before, a compelling storyline, illustrations that capture the mood as well as the events, a moving resolution. I read it all in one sitting, putting it down wasn't really an option.
I do have a couple of criticisms - one relationship in the book was a bit too one-dimensional and soap-opera-y and didn't feed back into the heart of the story as much as it should have: it made it feel
Derek Royal
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of the books we're reviewing this coming week on The Comics Alternative. An engaging story, but one that is fragmented in places..but necessarily so, in that it's not the story of just one or two people but a group of friends/patrons of a popular bar in Tel Aviv. My only hesitation as to artistic decision is the representation of the Islamic terrorist. As the creators mention in the book's Epilogue, this is purely speculation on their part. So why include it, why try to focalize even ...more
Christina Taylor
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sequential-art
At Mike’s Place, the blues bar on the Tel Aviv beachfront, patrons -- both renowned and local -- gather to forget the conflict outside. At least, that's what indie filmmakers Jack and Joshua want to convey in their documentary; however, shortly after filming begins, the bar is targeted in a gruesome suicide bombing. Lovers of realistic and historical narratives will not only find this to be an interesting read but also the ways that the Mike’s Place family copes with their tragedy intriguing as ...more
Edward Sullivan
The true story about a 2003 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, the first time such an attack was carried out by foreign nationals inside Israel.
Eva Inzu
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I like this.. I did see something different in middle east, I even want to go there! I mean to Mike's Place.. I also follow an American Jew mural artist in Instagram, he currently (live) in Israel (which town, I don't remember), but his works also made me want to go there. I think it is a good idea to make this graphic novel. For me (who don't like read about war), making me want to read more about (specially) conflict in Israel. I've already had few books about it in my collection, I think it’s ...more
Dalen Garris
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book from a unique perspective. This is my first graphic novel, so I wasn't expecting the depth that I found. The characters became real to me and their emotions and feelings were easily felt.
The story line took a very unpredictable turn with the bombing. Not that it wasn't expected, considering the title, but the abrupt corner it took opened up the story into a broader vista than the original direction was leading to.
There are some interesting subplots that could be followed. I'm
Everyone should read this graphic novel and then watch its companion documentary. This vivid retelling leading up to and occurring after a tragic suicide bombing in Israel is compelling and sheds light on the realities of which westerners can only feign understanding (myself at the front of that line). By immersing the reader in the process and lives of the creatorsof an actual documentary that was being filmed at the time of the bombing, the truth that life and tragedy happen in the middle of ...more
Michael Kerr
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, graphic
3.5 stars. A graphic novel created by documentary film-makers who were shooting a feature on Mike's Place, a bar in Tel Aviv. Their film was intended to show an alternate view of the middle east - one where people can hang out and be themselves without focusing on politics and religion. During the filming a suicide bomber wreaks his mayhem on the bar (which may have been selected due to the attention the place was receiving as a film subject). A recommended non-fiction graphic novel about life ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've lived in Israel for many years and for me everything about this book (characters, settings, the way people speak, behave, etc.) seems very familiar and recognisable. The story isautobiographical and inspirational, without being didactic and pretending to have all the answers. It is not the most informative book, but for people who are curious about what the life in Israel is like, this is the book they should check out. ...more
Samantha Sim
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
meh... i expected better. the illustrations failed to convey the emotions supposedly felt by the characters. the writing was bad. i felt no connection whatsoever towards any character.
Evan Fancy
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
It's hard to "like" a book about a topic as sensitive as this. The book hearkens back to the second intifada, and touches on how terrorism impacts on Israeli life.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My word. Devastating.
Elaine Pasky
Decided not to read

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott

The political landscape of Israel is and was often a harsh and unforgiving road, with terror a palpital feeling on both sides of the street; the air is thick with tension and amidst the peace talks of 2003 and 2004 lies a tale well worth the cost of admission. In the middle of this chaotic time sits Mike’s Place, an excellent, graphic biographical history of a momentous period.

As the graphic novel’s Epilogue states, “
Wow. This graphic novel blew me away. Lots of feels and a bit of history I hadn't read much on. Love the way this was told and illustrated.
This is a trimmed down version of my review, to view the full review visit The Book Ramble.

I received a copy of this book from First Second Books on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mike's Place tells the true story of events that occurred in 2003 in Israel when two suicide bombers attacked a nightclub and killed 3 people. The club was having a documentary made about it at the time which has since been completed and released (Blues by the Beach). This book relates the making of the
Elliot Ratzman
Dec 25, 2016 rated it liked it
In 2003, an American documentarian finds himself in Israel filming the denizens of a blues bar, Mike’s Place. No spoilers—the cover of the graphic novel has a suicide bomber on it—the bar is targeted by a pair of British Hamas terrorists. I didn’t know the story, or the actual documentary, Blues on the Beach, before reading this. While it is a fine glimpse of the daily life of Ashkenazi secular Israelis, it’s not very cognizant of Palestinian life and struggle. In the name of banishing politics ...more
Corinne Edwards
When Jack goes to Tel Aviv, he's planning on making a documentary on the crimes of a local Palestinian leader. What he ends up filming, instead, is about Mike's Place, a beachfront restaurant and bar that plays live local music, where customers are invited to leave politics and religion at the door. One month into filming, a suicide bomber targets the bar and this book tells the story of Mike's Place, its employees and clientele as well as the aftermath of disaster.

I like graphic non-fiction.
This fascinating account of an act of terrorism in Israel in 2003 shines in many aspects. Not only does it recount the build-up to the bombing of a bar where individuals come to enjoy a couple of drinks, listen to blues music, and hang out with friends, but it also describes the aftermath of the suicide bombing and how the bar's owners and patrons manage to keep going. Written by the two filmmakers who recorded a documentary about the events called "Blues by the Beach," this account helps ...more
Kitty Red-Eye
I have only two small critical comments to this one, and that's that It's difficult to keep all the characters apart, and that some of the drawings look a bit stiff. None of these matter much in such a story. Highly recommended. The characters are so charming, young, full of life, and all the while, you know that some of them are doomed. It's second intifada time, and what's gonna make everything alright if not, you know, some blowing-up of random civilians who are committing the heinous sins of ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Baxter, Jack, Faudem, Joshua, and Shadmi, Koren, Mike’s Place. pgs. 185. First Second Books, 2015. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Language: PG-13, Mature Content: PG-13, Violence: PG-13

Set in a blues bar on Tel Aviv beachfront, Mike’s Place is where people can go and grab a beer as long as they don’t talk about religion or politics. Things take a dark turn, however, when the bar is the place for a documentary film. Less than a month after they begin filming, they bar is a target for a suicide bombing. They
Emilia P
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: comic-books
This is a "oh it's First Second and it's about Israel so I guess I have to read it" pick. But I have read so many good and interesting and compelling books about Israel and the conflicts and tensions and etc etc there-in that this one felt super flat to me. Like -- the premise is interesting (a documentary crew is filming this cool bar and ends up filming a suicide bombing and its aftermath), but the storytelling was like... oh hey, reader, don't you just care about Israel and its conflicts ...more
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