Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Stan Levenson writes about his Brooklyn childhood, his family, and his friends with humor and realism that the reader will enjoy. His widowed mother does a more than admirable job in raising Stan and his older two sisters, and he writes about their family trips to Coney Island when a subway ride costs five cents. He also shares his boyhood and teenage years when he had a wonderful time, especially with his interest in sports, but openly tells the reader that he got into plenty of trouble enjoying himself!
Interestingly, Levenson tells of how, despite low test scores, he worked his way from a technical high school into college. That the author became an educational specialist is to his credit. Yes, he truthfully portrays himself as a "goof-off," but he also
conveys his willingness to work hard and to promote himself and then live up to the self-promotion.
When Brooklyn Was Heaven is extremely well-written, well-edited and organized. The characters of Stan Levenson's friends and family are well-developed and appealing. When at the book's end, Levenson notes that some of them are no longer living, the reader will feel genuine sadness. The photographs help tell the story, and the reader can refer to the well-developed table of contents to seek out a favorite section to reread.
This is a book that belongs in library collections, for it is a remarkable recounting of yesteryear and of lives that were well-lived, adding much to the human experience.