Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bed-Stuy Is Burning” as Want to Read:
Bed-Stuy Is Burning
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bed-Stuy Is Burning

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  422 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Aaron, a disgraced rabbi turned Wall Street banker, and Amelia, his journalist girlfriend, live with their newborn in Bedford-Stuyvesant, one of the most dynamic and historically volatile neighborhoods in New York City. The infusion of upwardly mobile professionals into Bed-Stuy’s historic brownstones belies the tension simmering on the streets below. But after a cop shoot ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 11th 2017 by Atria Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bed-Stuy Is Burning, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bed-Stuy Is Burning

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  422 ratings  ·  91 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Bed-Stuy Is Burning
Larry H
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
I'm at 2.5 stars here.

No matter how far we believe we've come as a society, the issue of racial tension is still a very real one, one that can trigger violence as a result of real or perceived antagonistic actions. Couple that tension with the resentment often felt when a neighborhood predominantly occupied by minorities is on the cusp of being "gentrified," where long-time residents are pushed out by those with more money and greater ambitions, and you have a recipe for potential disaster.

Jan 11, 2017 marked it as own-it-to-read
they rejected me on edelweiss, but i will get you, my pretty. i will.

EDIT: HAH! they accepted me on netgalley! oh, internet, how i love thee. (maybe it's a sign i need to revise my edelweiss profile.)
** Downloaded an ARC from Edelweiss in return for an honest review **

I REALLY wanted to like this book every since I saw the plot summary months ago. The gentrification of Bedford–Stuyvesant has been happening at a rapid speed. The basic problem for me is that the couple was very unlikeable. I feel bad saying this but it was just..boring.

Also did we need several paragraphs on a 12 year old preparing to eat an apple?
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars - Great book

I tried to hide all spoilers but I may have forgotten a few. I know I did not hide anything that’s on the book jacket.

I really liked this book and there’s a part of me that feels I shouldn’t have liked it so much. Overall this book is well written and the story is interesting.

When I first read the book jacket I thought that this book would be about the cross section of gentrification and police violence. I would say that that is at the core of this book but it’s also more co
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning debut novel! Not only is it incredibly relevant, but it so very accurately depicts the climate and culture of the unrest in many of our cities. When ex-Rabbi, Aaron and his journalist wife, Amelia get caught up in the melee during a day of chaos in their newly-gentrified neighborhood, we are introduced to their devout nanny, Antoinette, a troubled young teen, Sara, and single father, Jupiter. As their lives become entwined in chaos we see that this one day will forever change ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best book I have read in a really long time! Bed-Stuy Is Burning is a relevant novel that addresses some really complex issues... while capturing my attention from the first paragraph! I couldn't put it down ... if it isn't on your list of books to read, add it immediately.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel simmered and erupted into a macabre dance and was utterly un-put-downable. I love how the author got into the heads of so many different people, revealing the effects of the riots from an array of disparate perspectives. Most of the characters were despicable except for Antoinette and Jupiter -- and my heart ached for them. It's been 24 hours since I finished reading, yet I'm still thinking about Amelia and Aaron and their baby Simon ... A very good read.

Thank you, Netgalley, for the
Andrew Palmer
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't imagine I'll read a better book in 2017. Platzer's range of empathy is amazing. His vision is dark but humane, and at times very funny. His takes on gentrification, race relations, and religion feel true. Everyone is comparing this book to Bonfire of the Vanities but this book is far more accomplished and mature--remarkable for a debut writer.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this novel. I was hooked on the story from the first page, and I'm obsessed with how well written it is. It takes on a tricky subject with a lot of grace and heart, but also intelligence and humor. I'd recommend it to anyone.
Hal Schrieve
Sep 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: race-in-america
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A riveting read that touches upon a range of topics from racism to relationships. Impossible to put down once you start reading! I highly recommend this novel to all readers alike.
John Paul
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is a wonderful range of characters in Bed-Stuy Is Burning: from handcuffed Sarah to Police Commissioner Bratton; from disgraced rabbi and gambling addict turned day trader Aaron to a guy at the track called "Oranges." But it may be Amelia, a celebrity gossip columnist yearning to write more serious and important journalism, whose story becomes the most powerful in the novel. Platzer takes the vast energies of New York City and distills them into a single explosive day in Brooklyn. An ambit ...more
S.J. Sindu
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an important and timely book. Platzer deftly tells the story of racial tensions exploding in Bed-Stuy. At the beginning, we can see the tightly wound powder keg that is this neighborhood, and soon this tension spills over into riots in response to the police shooting of a boy. But Platzer doesn't sensationalize the violence. Instead, he finds the nuanced human elements through his characters. The book is woven well and tackles an increasingly relevant topic.
Felicia Roff Tunnah
This might be the worst book I ever read. It's shameful this book would even be published. It's a story about white privilege and white guilt with shallow, predictable characters. What's most upsetting is all of the writers who struggle to get published when a book like this was not only published but received a NY Times book review (although poor).
Matthew Buckley Smith
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bed-Stuy Is Burning by Brian Platzer is the funniest book I've ever read about a public tragedy, and the saddest book I've ever read about a neurotic yuppie in New York. Putting it down between chapters was nearly impossible. I only wish I could read it again for the first time.
Brian Platzer
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
They let authors review our own novels? 5 Stars! But mostly I'd love to hear what other people think, so please drop me a note at
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This current day narrative engages the reader with characters who are realistically flawed, fiercely loving, and faced with personal and politically charged life events. It's a captivating and engrossing read - which I highly recommend!
Loren Woodson
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
BED-STUY IS BURNING by Brian Platzer

This book carried me through from beginning to end with keen interest and lively involvement. It is well-written, well-paced, well-plotted and timely, with its main characters being real, deeply etched, and multilayered, and supporting ones appropriately sketched and authentic. It gave me a palpable sense of the Bed-Stuy neighborhood and ambience and the complicated, multilayered racial, cultural, political, law-enforcement and generational forces in play—alon
Ken Platzer
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An evocative and timely story. I couldn't put it down!
Linda Quinn
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a complex book that addresses the continuing problems of race relations and police procedures, set in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn. The author explores how easily lives can be changed or ruined by choices that are made, over the course of a day or in just a split second.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
STAY AWAY. Ugh. Kudos to Platzer for the attempt but he should have stayed away too. Not only does the writing style try and fail to achieve more than it can, the story is flimsy and is unsupported by substantial, genuine characters at the focus.

Why does Amelia (white female lead) laugh when the second tower fell on 9/11?? How does mentioning this with no back-up help the story or help me understand her character? It makes me hate her.

Aaron needs to donate $50,000 to charity or he'll gamble it
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bed-Stuy is one of the most sought after places to live in New York City. At present, Aaron, a disgraced rabbi turned Wall Street broker and Amelia, his journalist girl friend and their baby. The infusion of upwardly mobile professionals into the historic brownstones belie the tension simmering below. But, after a policeman shoots an boy in a nearby park, conflict escalates with Aaron and his family at its center. Pulled into the vortex is Aaron's nanny, Jupiter, the single father who lives in t ...more
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book, especially to folks who live in cities and/or are concerned about gentrification. The author tackles all the big issues in this novel set in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood--police violence, broken windows, demographic changes, education, employment.

The author attempted to tell the story from quite diverse perspectives. This is where I think he went a bit off track. The characters were well drawn, but I found some of their actions and words implausible, especially
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love the format of the book and how it allowed you to see the story from the various characters. I thought the author did a good job of addressing tough issues like gentrification, police brutality, and race.
Fernando Damus
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely, highly recommend it!
Lauren Hopkins
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Not 100% sure how I feel about this one. Part about relationships, part about the race/class divide of urban cities experiencing gentrification, I feel like the author is tackling too much in too little space to really make a commitment to either one. I could've done without the relationship part, honestly...the female half of our protagonist couple, Amelia, is one of the worst women I've ever read in the history of literature. Her husband Aaron is a bumbling idiot with a gambling addiction, but ...more
Michael Martz
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I felt "Bed-Stuy is Burning" had great potential. It's a complex story about relationships, race, culture filled with interesting characters, but it manages to bite off more than it can chew.

Bedford-Stuyvesant is a section of Brooklyn best known as the birthplace of several great basketball players and as a crime-riddled neighborhood. A yuppie family (white, unmarried with a baby son, he's an ex-rabbi/gambling addict with a good job in finance, she's a writer) buys a very nice brownstone where t
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
A story that takes place all in one day. However, there is a lot of history about Bed-Stuy, so be prepared for that.

It's really a sad sort of story about what can happen, or maybe did, when the rich try to come into a neighborhood and take it over from the people who have been there for decades. People who may not have the ways or means to move anywhere else.

There is also a lot of discrimination going on in this book. Towards the people, the police and the neighborhood.

A story of a riot and the
John Rensink
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was excited when I first saw this book was coming out. I loved the author's shorter work in the New Yorker, and the NYTimes. Let me tell you, the book did not disappoint! A compassionate and powerful story of a community in transition, it brilliantly weaves together the lives of several unforgettable characters. As the stories coalesce, the tension ramps up to a point where I couldn't put the book down for 125 pages or so. It was so intense!
I highly recommend this book! I guarantee y
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This promised a lot, but in the end was a little too ambitious in its all encompassing, wannabe 'Bonfire of the Vanities' style, making it feel more than a little fad fetched, if truth be told. I loved the setting, but if you want a clash of social cultures / classes in NYC, stick to the Wolfe...
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Minotaur
  • Mother Country
  • The Captain and the Glory: An Entertainment
  • Big Summer
  • Damascus
  • The Diana Chronicles
  • The Cactus League
  • Perfect Tunes
  • The Index of Self-Destructive Acts
  • Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty
  • Victoria: A Life
  • Victoria's Daughters
  • The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy
  • Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion
  • Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria
  • Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England
  • Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter: A Biography of Princess Louise
  • Alexandra: The Last Tsarina
See similar books…
Brian Platzer is the author of BED-STUY IS BURNING ('17) and THE BODY POLITIC ('20) from Atria/Simon & Schuster, and THE TAKING THE STRESS OUT OF HOMEWORK ('20) from Avery/Penguin Random House. Brian has an MFA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and a BA from Columbia University. His writing has appeared often in the New Yorker’s Shouts and Murmurs and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, as well ...more

Related Articles

We asked Alice Bolin, author of Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession, and journalist-turned-crime novelist Laura...
97 likes · 47 comments