The Last Brazil of Benjamin East, by Jonathan Freedman


Pulitzer Prize winning author Jonathan Freedman is from Burlingame, California. His non-fiction writing for the San Diego Tribune contributed to immigration reform.

This book was thirty years in the making. He wrote it as a young man, put it away and reworked it in his mature years. His main character Benjamin East writes notes and throws them into a shoe box in his closet. After his wife’s suicide or accidental death, he writes a memoir from the notes. It is about his life but no publisher wants it.

He started his adult life as a successful business man in New York during the Depression. He bought apple orchards all over the USA and hired failed businessmen to sell apples on the corners in Manhattan.

If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere, as the song lyrics go. He takes his wealth and moves to Brazil. On the bright side, he marries a beautiful woman and embraces life in Brazil. On the down side, he makes one disastrous  business deal after another and loses everything. He heads back to New York to reunite with his only brother and try to sell his book.

He ends up assisting a young woman running away from her abusive husband. They end up on a road trip to California to find a new life.

The story evolves from several points of view. As a mature person in my third or so career transformation, I could relate to his feelings of failure and then elation when something goes right. It is a more mature person’s books. I don’t see teens being able to relate to it.

ISBN 978-1-939555-10-6. 282 pages.

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About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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