[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]
Most stories are about people. This is a book about a place: Dropsie Avenue in the Bronx, New York, mostly in the 1930s during the Great Depression (大恐慌). Eisner has written three heartfelt “graphic novels” about the communities and changing face of the place where he grew up. The writing is also full of “world Englishes,” reflecting the diverse cast of characters.
“The Contract with God” is a series of short stories about a Jewish immigrant and his neighborhood. “A Life Force” is one long story about a carpenter trying to find the meaning of life by asking: How am I different from a cockroach? Finally, “Dropsie Avenue” is a history of the neighborhood. It tracks the waves immigrants and their conflicts with each other: from Dutch to English, Irish, German, Italian, Spanish, Jewish, and African American. Many of the details are fiction, but heart of all of these stories rings true.
My two cents: Don’t be scared by this thick book. You don’t have to read it all! I suggest skipping the introduction and reading a few of “The Contract with God” short stories, but all three novels are excellent!