This book very easily could have earned a 5-star rating and I am certain that many readers will rate it a full 5-stars. I rate books not only according to how they are written, how well developed the plot and the characters are and how deep of an impression it has made on me. This book exceeds in all categories except for leaving a lasting impression on me. While it is fantastic I did not connect with it in the same way I have connected with other books this year.
When Mr. Brodow first e-mailed me about reading Fixer I was immediately intrigued when he mentioned that it was inspired by the true story of his grandfather. I am always captivated by historical fiction and biographies so I fully expected to love this book. The "Fixer" in the book is protaganist Harry Leonnoff, a Jewish man struggling to survive and thrive in New York during the early 20th century. Throughout the book we get to experience World War I, the anti-semitism of the early 1900's, Irish gangs (reminiscent of that Leonardo Di Caprio movie - Gangs of New York), and the Great Depression. The book is littered with colorful, and very memorable characters, and I fell in love with the story. There were a few moments I caught myself smiling, and nearly laughing, at some of Harry's situational dealings. One in particular was in the opening chapters regarding Marshall Harry Leonnoff, a slumlord landlord and a poor tenant named Jesse. I won't spoil the moment but it was defining moment in the beginning of the book that laid the foundation for Harry's character.
The chapters are uniquely divided by time frame or historical year. The first two chapters actually go back in time like a movie that shows the ending first; then it starts over in Harry's youth and moves back to the later years. It kept me on track as far as the character development and historical significance. It was a well-planned layout for a unique story. I admit, the early 20th century is without a doubt my favorite time in history so I enjoyed this book on an even greater scale simply because of the era in which it took place.
As I said, this could very easily have been a 5-star rating and if I could give it a 4.5 star rating I would but I only rate in full stars. I'm typically not interested in political books, political settings or political drama but Mr. Brodow wrote an amazing book and it is definitely worth picking up for a read. One other little thing is that it is a quick read. It's not exasperatingly long so it is managable on a long car ride or an airplane trip. I read it in two nights and could have easily finished it in one.