Sunday, September 23, 2012

TLC Blog Tour: Bookie's Son

                                                Welcome to another stop for TLC Book Tour
I received Bookie's Son from TLC Book Tours. This is the first time I am participating.

Bookie's Son by Andrew Goldstein

Bookie's son was written based on the life of the author, and I'm sure was embellished in some parts of the novel.  I am afraid I won't give it the justice it deserves.  This is a great story. While reading it I felt like it ran like a movie in my head. I liked that the chapters were short, and sweet. Each chapter had cute illustrations of the characters.

The story captivated me from the first. I loved the characters, even though they were a bit over the top. But, that is what made it fascinating, a dysfunctional family. I loved the setting, of the Bronx.  I have never lived in the Bronx, although I could picture it in my head.

When I was young, my parents would take me to my bubby( my great grandmother) house, in Boston, Mass.  The book reminded me of that place. I still remember the trolley passing and going through the streets. The antique furniture, the smells that resonated through the house during Shabbat. People outside rather than inside.   I love the story when place is character.

Before Gameboy, and Atari, Play Station, etc. Kids did play outside, and congregated. Where they played stick ball, and sat out on the stoop to be outside. Where women kibbitz, and gossip and talk about their families.

The story is  a coming of age story, and forgiveness, redemption, and the importance of family no matter how crazy they are. There is some sprinkling of Yiddish, and a lot of Yiddish humor.  I don't want to give it away. But, the book is timeless, and makes you think about the Jewish holydays coming.

Ricky grows up quickly, and literally. He sees what is going on around him with the family troubles, and what happens to his father. The timing is perfect with the bar mitzvah approaching, and the decisions Ricky has to make.

Bookie's Son  takes place in the 1960's in the Bronx.  Ricky about to become a bar mitzvah.  He's mother, Pearl works as a secretary to a talent agent.  He's father is a "cutter, and a gambler, and owes money to the loan shark.  He's grandmother who can hardly hear well takes care of Ricky.

Ricky's father owes money to Nathan, lots of money. Where is he going to come up with that kind of " dough"? Nathan and Pearl used to be a item many years ago. Nathan uses that against him. He tells him if you let me have one fling with your wife, I will forget about the money. What is he going to do?

Ricky has he's own problems between worrying about his father's bookie business and helping with that, and a kid on the street, named Tony. He is always threating and harassing Ricky, until something terrible happens.  Ricky, meanwhile has a thing with his neighbor downstairs. There is a lot of growing up to do. One day something terrible happens, and the friendship of the girl down stairs will never be the same.  Through all this, will Ricky learns in time  his Haftorah in time for his bar mitzvah?

One thing Ricky loves and protects is his grandmother. She is hard of hearing. There is one part that is so funny. Two guys come to the apartment looking for Ricky's father, to pay up. The father is on the run. Ricky's grandmother, who's hearing is not so wonderful.  Mistakes some word, and offers them cookies. You have to read it to understand the humor.

Pearl and her husband don't care if they still owe money to Nathan. They are going to have a party of a life time.  As Jews, you don't care how bad in hock you get. You party first, and think about it later. Pearl, and the family get in deeper and deeper over their heads.

Pearl embezzles money out of Elizabeth Taylor's account. She will think about later how she will give it back.  Meanwhile, Ricky and he's grandmother are in the grocery store. She staged a accident in the grocery store. She breaks her hip.

If you want to read a something nostalgic, fun, and zany for a good laugh pick up Bookie's son.  I really enjoyed reading it. I did not know what to expect since most books I review are from big publishing houses. This one is not. That teaches me not to judge a book by it's cover.

Andrew has written a funny piece here,  enjoy.

Losing It

At a dinner party, not long ago, my friend posed the question to the five of us, all of us 60+ years, Do you think you’re losing it? Everyone except for me answered yes.  After all I had recently published my first novel, The Bookie’s Son. I wasn’t losing it.  Undermining my perception were three incidents over the past ten years that tell a different story.

  1. Ten years ago my wife was in Paris on business. I had never been there so we decided that I would join her for a long romantic weekend together. At our age, having been together for decades, anything even hinting of romance sounds appealing. I even packed the night before my flight, which I knew would impress her. As I pulled into the airport parking garage I said to myself, that’s funny, I don’t remember putting my suitcase in the trunk. Too late to drive back home, no longer allowed for a suitcase to travel by itself on a later plane, too expensive to ship, I flew to Paris without any clothes...except for what I was wearing. I tend to look on the bright side and told myself, it’s nice to travel light.

  1. Eight years ago I was sitting at my messy desk at work when the phone rang. I reached my hand to answer it but instead of lifting up the receiver I picked up my glasses. With one of the plastic covered metal arm tips by my ear and the other by my mouth, I said, “Hello” and the phone rang again. “Hello, hello.” Another ring. Now I’m getting annoyed, at the imbecile on the other end. It was around the fourth or fifth ring that I realized the identity of that imbecile and quietly slinked away from my desk.

  1. The phone incident happened only once so it didn’t scare me. As the years passed an  occasional age related memory lapse, like I’ll leave my glasses at work because I have something else in my pocket and my brain is tricked. No big deal (I’m not losing it.) In December, I was taking care of my nine month old grandson. My daughter likes to keep the heat low to save money and the environment. Fine, I bring extra clothes. She doesn’t want me to track germs into the house. Fine, I take off my shoes. The week before I left a pair of sneakers there. So this time when I was leaving I make sure I have everything. Extra clothes, sneakers, cell phone, keys, glasses, wallet. Proud of myself, I strut down the ten steps to the front door, turn around, wave my free hand at my grandson and shout in a baby voice, “Bye bye, bye bye”. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice my sneakers still on the floor upstairs. How could this be? What could I be carrying in my other hand that tricked my brain. Hint: There are two of them, approximately 3 inches long––my grandson’s sneakers.

   Of the five of us, I think I won the losing it the most contest. The closest contender was a woman who drove to her mailbox to pick up the mail but instead of opening her mailbox she walked around her car and popped the trunk.

Thank You TLC Book Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour.

Here are the other stops for TLC Blog Tour:

Tuesday, September 4th: Lit and Life
Wednesday, September 5th:  A Patchwork of Books
Thursday, September 6th:  Man of La Book
Wednesday, September 12th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, September 13th:  The Perks of Being a JAP
Friday, September 14th:  House of the Seven Tails
Monday, September 17th:  Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 18th:  Life in Review
Wednesday, September 19th:  Unabridged Chick
Friday, September 21st:  Raging Bibliomania
Monday, September 24th:  Fiction Addict
Tuesday, September 25th:  WV Stitcher
Wednesday, September 26th:  I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Thursday, September 27th:  Between the Covers
Friday, September 28th:  Mom in Love with Fiction


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! Thanks for being on the tour.

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