Standalone Sunday

Happy Sunday Bookies!!! this is my 1st time participating in Megan@BookSlayerReads Standalone Sunday, a feature where you select a book (not part of a series) that you loved & would recommend to others. Super excited to be participating in Megan’s feature since i’ve been eyeing it for weeks & racking my brain for a good standalone I could post. It seems like lately series are the norm but I would love to get some more standalone’s read & this seems like a great source for motivation. On to this Sunday’s pick…




Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem


Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: October 24th 2000

Page Count: 311

Genre: Fiction/Mystery-Crime





Goodreads Synopsis:

Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn’s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel’s colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim’s widow skips town. Lionel’s world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.

This week I chose Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, a book that I read in college as part of my required reading. I didn’t know it then but this would go on to become one of my most favorite detective tales that has since stayed with me. I am hazy on many of the smaller details but I loved the narrator Lionel Essrog an orphan with Tourettes Syndrome & OCD. Lionel ends up working for Frank Minna (mobster) as muscle up until Frank is murdered. The book is narrated by Lionel & therefore you’ll get random bursts of his Tourettes as well as his need to count things as he sets out to solve the mystery of Frank’s murder. I fell in love with Lionel’s character & felt this need to see him be ok on his own. There are many heartfelt moments as well as humorous ones…straight out laugh out loud moments. I loved seeing Lionel navigate Brooklyn (my home sweet home lol), the borough isn’t portrayed in a positive light but I believe people have forgotten Brooklyn’s past before gentrification. I’d recommend Motherless Brooklyn to anyone who enjoys a good detective novel & wouldn’t mind being inside the mind of a person with Tourettes & OCD since it is narrated by the character with these mental disorders.


“Tourette’s is just one big lifetime of tag, really. The world (or my brain—same thing) appoints me it, again and again. So I tag back. Can it do otherwise? If you’ve ever been it you know the answer.” 
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“Guilt wants to cover all the bases, be everywhere at once, reach into the past to tweak, neaten and repair. Guilt like Tourettic utterance flows uselessly, inelegantly from one helpless human to another, contemptuous of perimeters, doomed to be mistaken or refused on delivery.” 

― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“Prince’s music calmed me as much as masturbation or a cheeseburger.”

― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

Author: LairOfBooks

"I didn't choose the Book Life, the Book Life chose me"

40 thoughts on “Standalone Sunday”

  1. Ohh interesting pick for this week Lilly, and I know the feeling because I was seeing people post in this tag for a while before I got around to posting my own Standalone Sunday feature, mainly because I kept forgetting by the time Sunday came around!
    While this book isn’t something I’d enjoy, not really my reading style, it sounds interesting. Also it’s great that it’s a book that stayed with you for so long. I can’t think of one of my required reading books for high school that I would feature for this post. I never enjoyed any of them that much and none of them stuck with me at all.
    Great pick for this week, and I can’t wait to see what you pick for next week as well! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Beth! 😊💕I think what made this one stand out & stay with me for so long is the format in which it was written. Lethem did an amazing job at portraying the mind of a person with these mental disorders. I was very happy that my college professor had us read this one for Advanced English. I thoroughly enjoyed this authors writing style & cant believe I haven’t read anything else by him. Book Of The Month had Anthony Bourdain as a host this month & he selected as his pick Lethem’s new book A Gambler’s Anatomy. I almost selected this book as my pick but opted with The Trespasser by Tana French. I’m still buying Gamblers Anatomy with my B&N coupon though all because of Standalone Sunday Lol! I’ll be checking yours out shortly 😊💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, and I guess if there’s something about it that makes it stick for you that’s amazing in and of itself. There has not been one book I read at school that stuck with me and it’s just great you found one that worked for you. It’s definitely great that it portrayed mental illness well, I can’t say I’ve read many books that focus on mental illness but it’s an interesting topic to explore more if it’s been written well.
        Ohh I saw your BOTM post on Instagram (I think) in passing, I stand by what I said previously it seems like an interesting subscription box, and seems like you have some more book shopping to do as well!
        Thanks Lilly. 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha! My book shopping has made me get more creative with bargain hunting TBH. This 3mth sub to BOTM was through a $20 sale at Groupon. I’m probably going to do my monthly subscription box post here on WordPress. Trying to catch up with my blogging but by bit. Thank you for always stopping by 😊💕

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Had to add this to my TBR because this sounds amazing and emotional all at the same time! Thanks for sharing this one. Kind of excited to get to it when I get in the mood for a Mystery =)
    The whole mobster brooklyn vibe is very original. So yes I will be checking this one out maybe on my kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love standalone novels so this is an excellent meme. Looking forward to all your recommendations!

    Motherless Brooklyn sounds especially interesting to me because detective stories are awesome and it’s important that people read books that have protagonists with disabilities. I know I do! I’m glad you had some books in college that you loved despite them being required reading. I didn’t really enjoy my college reading material until the last 2 semesters when I got to be more selective of my English course. 😛


  4. I like the sound of this! I’ve never really ventured into any detective novels. Unless you count the Nacy Drew books, which I was obsessed with when I was little. I’ll definitely have to add this to my TBR for whenever I’m feeling in the mood for a detective type book though. Great pick, Lilly! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. lol I loved for the Scholastic book fairs that came to the schools library 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 haha! I think I was into anything that was a series at the time, didn’t know that those were the first red flags of a serial binger😂😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So did I! That was probably my favorite part of each school year. 😊
        I was too. Even when I was way younger and still reading picture books. I would binge whole series before I moved onto anything else. Now I’m even worse. 😂


  5. I love the original take on this with the addition of TS and what goes with it! It’s great that the author managed to include it and make it a good detective novel at the same time. I’m adding this to my list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Since reading this book back in 2001, I haven’t come across any books with protagonists who have Tourettes. I loved that in this book, the protagonist had these mental disorders but it didn’t stop him from taking up the challenge of solving the murder of his mob boss. I really loved this character & I plan on re-reading it soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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