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The Bookie's Son

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Drama and Humor

    The Bookie's Son by Andrew Gold­stein is a com­ing of age novel set in the 1960s. This is the author’s debut novel and I hope he will pen a few more.

    Ricky Davis is the son of a col­lec­tor agent to a Jew­ish crime lord, gam­bler and, of course, a bookie. Grow­ing up to a poor fam­ily in the Bronx dur­ing the 1960s is tough and the reader is intro­duce to many col­or­ful char­ac­ters, hap­pi­ness and tragedy dur­ing Ricky’s teenage years.

    The Davis fam­ily is also in the dire straits due to Mr. Davis’ addic­tion, but young Ricky has a plan. He will help his fam­ily out of the dire sit­u­a­tion to a bet­ter life.

    The Bookie’s Son by Andrew Gold­stein is an intel­li­gent and funny novel about a some­what dys­func­tional, yet lov­ing fam­ily in the 60s. Part a fam­ily story, part a com­ing of age story, the book grabs the reader’s atten­tion on almost every page.

    The strength of the novel is on its use of dia­logue, the author man­ages to cap­ture the style of the Bronx and the rhythm of the lan­guage with a few Yid­dish words to spice it all up. The author man­ages to cap­ture the sounds of the streets and fam­i­lies in a very human sense. I admired the way Mr. Gold­stein encap­su­lated how kids talk dif­fer­ently on the street than they do at home.

    Ricky becomes a man dur­ing these tur­bu­lent times. He learns his lim­i­ta­tions but also what can be accom­plished when one puts his mind to a task. The young boy becomes a man while see­ing his father, his hero, being beaten down lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively; dis­cov­er­ing that the world is not black and white and that the bad guys often win.

    The book com­bines humor and drama together in a sen­si­ble way. You never know when one will start and the other will end. The char­ac­ters are writ­ten very well, it’s hard to imag­ine that this is the first book the author has published.

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