Tale of a Political Robin Hood
Fixer reviewed by Grady Harp, Amazon Top 10 Reviewer
Harry Leonnoff is the Fixer of the title of this interesting first
novel by motivational author Ed Brodow: he is patterned on the author's
grandfather and provides a character around whom we are invited to revisit
the turn of the century New York landscape and sociopolitical shenanigans.
Brodow covers the era from 1883 to 1961, weaving fascinating stories about
WW I, the plight of the Jews during WW II and in the USA, the rise of
the Irish political giants of Tammany Hall, the colorful Mayor Fiorello
La Guardia, the Depression, the plight of the poor and disenfranchised,
and the plague of polio that blighted the life of the hero - and even
possibly provided the first of the hurdles such as overcoming evil with
good that ruled Harry Leonnoff's life.
By separating his book into time framed chapters, Brodow gives us an excellent
history course, told in the manner of a novel with extraordinarily interesting
characters that are well drawn. Little known facts about the period are
shared through the mouths of the three-dimensional characters and the
impact that the changes that molded the 20th century are carried right
into the present. The novel is never less than fascinating reading.
The area for growth in the writing of 'novels' versus his successful motivational
books lies in the language. Brodow writes terse sentences and dialog and
for the reportage aspect of this homage to his grandfather this style
is suitable. What is missing is the lyricism that would take the novel
to the range of great writing. Brodow frequently falls back on current
slang expressions that disrupt the flavor of the period: 'Let's get this
show on the road', 'scared the daylights out of the Democratic incumbent',
'don't suppose for a cotton-picking minute', 'someone had stayed up awfully
late putting together a case against Harry' - all acceptable terms but
ones that simply don't fit the era and jar the reader's concentration.
This is a minor flaw and one that probably comes from his very contemporary
style in writing motivations books that relate directly to the fast reader.
Constructive criticism is always given with respect for the work at hand.
Ed Brodow hopefully will continue writing novels: he is a born storyteller.
Kudos to the Outskirts Press, Inc. for the design and layout choices of
presenting this book. They add a tasty flavor. This book is a very fine
read, one that will keep the reader glued to the page through an airplane
ride! It is a solid contribution to studies of American history.
Grady Harp, January 08.