Brownsville is a quality book, obviously a labor of love and skill from two talents, writer Neil Kleid and artist Jake Allen. The presentation is handsome, an easy-to-read hardcover at a reasonable price. The themes are universal, dealing with loyalty, different kinds of families, and the urge to belong. The subject is important, a well-researched story of the Jewish mob of the 1930s. It also happens to be one I’m simply not interested in.
I don’t care for gangster stories, so much so that I find them confusing. There are a lot of similar-looking men in similar-looking clothes, and since I don’t have an emotional connection to the characters, I often get them mixed up. That’s not the artist’s fault — it’s an artifact of the period, where it was more important to dress a certain way at certain times than it is now.
I don’t want to empathize with gangsters, nor am I fascinated by what they do. I just want to stay far away from it all. Which means I can’t give this book a fair review; it’s a great example of a genre I don’t want to read. It was kind of neat paging through it and seeing the evocative background recreation of another era, though.