Broke – Jodie Adams Kirshner

4/5 Stars
Reviewed by: Lexie (Contributor)
Genre: Nonfiction
Published by: St. Martins Press
Anticipated Release: November 19th, 2019
Pages: 368



Detroit, The 313, The Motorcity. Let’s start off by saying I love my city, and I am proud to say that I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. (Well, not really, I was born and raised in a suburb about 30 minutes North, but close enough right?) I was excited to read this book because it’s about the people and their experiences in the utmost heart of Detroit.

Growing up in an Oakland County suburb, I would drive down to hockey practice in the heart of Detroit and notice a drastic change in scenery. Nowadays, that scenery is somewhat the same but also taking on some major changes. The new Little Caesars Arena for the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons has sparked a fire in Detroit, and the new downtown area is booming with new restaurants, stores, an updated college campus, and apartments. This didn’t happen overnight. It took a long time to get to this point and Detroit still has so much further to go, but there is hope to be recognized within this city thanks to this book.

 Broke is the heartbreaking and hopeful narrative that Detroit desperately needs. A collection of true stories and real people that are trying to make it through the tough times while staying in the city they love. So much hope and promise lies within Detroit, but with little help and real struggle its citizens are trying their best to maintain and rebuild their lives in Detroit after bankruptcy and tragedy.

 So much grit lies within this city, and it is well portrayed in the stories that are told. The real lives that are discussed in the novel paint a perfect picture of what it means to be a real Detroit resident. Fight and grit are two words that stuck out to me while reading these pages. These lives and their dreams are knocked down and thrown aside multiple times, but they get back up and try again, and they continue to fight to build a life in Detroit that they can be proud of.

While reading this book I had to continually remind myself that these are the lives of real people, not made up scenarios. These residents of Detroit continually lost their homes, their jobs, their cars, and they still held on to the slightest bit of hope to keep fighting in the city they have so deeply showed their devotion too, even if it didn’t show its devotion back.

I felt as though the stories were cut short and some elaboration was needed. An abrupt ending to a couple of the story lines left me unsatisfied and wondering if we were missing a major part of their life. Some parts of their stories were left untold and more details would have been appreciated to round out the entire tale of these Detroit residents. I wish I could’ve been informed of more good in their lives and not just the struggle and negatives – maybe just a sliver of positivity within their stories that I could hold on to and shine some light on. In the end I closed this book feeling terribly, and furious for these humans. 

However, this novel is filled with so much heartbreak and yet so much battle that I would recommend it to anyone, especially Detroit residents. A book full of lessons on life, economy, school systems, real estate, and fight; a perfect blend of entertainment and education.

I only wish that Detroit had a little more help and guidance for it’s residents; the ones that stay true, and fight through the bad and remember the good that this city can bring. A comeback is on the horizon for Detroit, even though there is still a long way to go. The comeback and rebuilding of this city starts with the heartbeat of Detroit; it’s faithful and hopeful residents like the ones told about in this story.

Reviewed by: Lexie (Contributor)