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Review: A Bintel Brief

July 29, 2014

A Bintel Brief

A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York by Liana Finck is a graphic novel based on an advice column in The Forward, a Yiddish-language newspaper published in New York City.  During the early part of the twentieth century, letters to the advice column were answered by the editor, Adraham Cahan.  The letters were mostly written by new immigrants and topics ranged from marriage to finances to faith to adjusting to their new country.  Finck chose a handful of letters from that time period to adapt and illustrate in her book.

I wasn’t familiar with The Forward or its advice column prior to reading this book so it really didn’t strike a chord with me like I thought it would.  It was a quick read and I did enjoy it but I didn’t love it.  Finck’s illustrations are detailed and lovely but I think color would have enhanced them and the book.

A Bintel Brief interiorWhile I didn’t love the book, I would recommend A Bintel Brief to those interested in that time period or The Forward.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2014 7:13 am

    It sounds very evocative of that time period!

  2. July 29, 2014 7:24 am

    Haven’t heard of this one, but not sure it would be for me either:(

  3. July 29, 2014 7:53 am

    I’m kind of surprised they didn’t use color!

  4. Patty permalink
    July 29, 2014 8:07 am

    Wow..quite an unusual book…isn’t it?

  5. July 29, 2014 8:07 am

    This is a new one for me as well.

  6. July 29, 2014 8:43 am

    It’s been a while since I read a graphic novel. I like the sound of this…

  7. July 29, 2014 8:43 am

    Every time I see a review for a graphic novel I tell myself I need to try one. I can see why the use of color would make the experience more enjoyable.

  8. July 29, 2014 12:13 pm

    This one appeals to me based on what you’ve described, especially because of its history. I will have to add it to my too long wish list.

  9. July 29, 2014 3:36 pm

    I think I would have checked out the book too since the subject sounds fascinating. The cover is eye-catching and makes good use of color so I can see your point that using color in the pages might have worked better.

  10. July 29, 2014 4:21 pm

    If I found it at the library then yes maybe

  11. July 29, 2014 6:55 pm

    I like the B & W illustrations but wonder how they would fare in color. Thanks for your honest review of this graphic novel, Kathy.

  12. July 29, 2014 7:02 pm

    A Bintel Brief sounds like an interesting graphic novel.

  13. July 29, 2014 8:44 pm

    probably not for me. Graphic books really have to grab me.

  14. July 29, 2014 10:19 pm

    Hmmm, I like the idea of letters from immigrants settling into a new country. A different perspective is refreshing.

  15. Beth F permalink
    July 30, 2014 7:39 am

    I liked this more than you did.

  16. July 30, 2014 8:21 am

    What an interesting way to present that material. I would probably agree with you that color would enhance this one.

  17. July 30, 2014 2:27 pm

    I like the idea of it being based on an advice column, but would like it in color instead of black and white.

  18. sandynawrot permalink
    July 30, 2014 7:56 pm

    Some GN’s are really impactful as black and white, but not all. Some are no better than reading regular words. The topic sounds interesting but I also know very little about it…

  19. July 31, 2014 6:04 pm

    I’m not familiar with this period either but I love graphic books so I may just give this a try.

  20. bookingmama permalink
    August 13, 2014 10:47 pm

    It’s not familiar to me either but I think the illustrations look interesting.

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