After tragedy hits the poor, struggling, immigrant Rabishevsky family, the 3 remaining sons struggle to find a way back to normalcy. Each copes in his own way, but it seems that Morris, the baby, is the one with the most strength. When challenged, it is Morris who doesn’t back down. But when all his competition in the garment business is being ensnared by the Jewish mobsters’ union scam, will Morris and Raab Brothers be able to continue to resist? How brave is he really? And whom will he put at risk if he does?
This novel is not only compelling, but, to my surprise, is based on a true story. It is beautifully told, building the plot’s suspense as we come to know each of the characters more intimately and then twisting it into knots. It is full of the unexpected, starting with Jewish strong-armed bodyguards to crazy action-packed crime scenes. But there are many tender scenes as well. And my favorite lines during one of these is this: “When you’re scared, you’re nothing but a prisoner…but the moment you decide to stand up, become brave, you’re free. Free of everything that holds you back… You don’t have to think about it anymore.” This is a brilliant line. Hard to live by, but I guess something to strive for.
There are a. number of themes that wrap around the main character, Morris, and weigh him down throughout his life., but most dramatically it is the idea of not being able to forgive. In Morris’s case, it becomes somewhat blinding, and later, when he realizes his error, he is crippled with guilt. It is a powerful message, that is probably universal. So many of us – myself included — carry grudges against those who have wronged us or who have wronged someone close to us. It is extremely hard to let go. Maybe impossible. But whom are we harming when we don’t? This story gives us pause to challenge our own difficult relationships.
I’d love to hear other themes or that you’ve found in this book. Please comment and add to this entry!
Thanks for reading!