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Posted March 22, 2012
Mob-Infused, Multi-Generational, Family Dysfunction Caper!
** I received this book for free from the Bookplex **
Armondo’s Daughter is an almost unbelievable, mob infused, multi-generational family dysfunction disguised as a campaign to save pools in a working class neighborhood. Armondo and Cassandra Pagliano accompanied by grand-ma, better known as The Signora, navigate their interpersonal disappointments and let-downs to hold off the mafia, give a boyfriend the boot and rescue the nursing home from The Signora. Actions move quickly accompanied by gritty and urban dialogue. You can almost hear the thick accents and see the hand gestures. A composed, though not polished, Cassandra exposes her mother’s boyfriend as the lascivious jerk he is and asks her father to ‘rub him out.’ This simple task is appended by sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. In true Cosa Nostra style there’s death and duplicity, wise guys and dumb as**s, and cloak and dagger antics.
The story is driven by dialogue, which while good, makes for shallow plot development. There’s a fine line between engaging discourse and a potty mouth. Readers must be prepared for the roller coaster like ride as the story unfolds and the characters are introduced. Hold onto your seats! It moves fast-really fast. Be sure that you like the ride before you get on.
Posted March 11, 2012
Armando’s daughter is 16 year old, Cassandra Pagliano. Things in her life are not going well. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mom and her mom’s creepy boyfriend. Cassandra wants to get rid of the boyfriend so she turns to her estranged father for help.
Her father, Armando, is a gangster who goes to his mother for help with the situation. This ultimately begins a string of events of a very dysfunctional family trying to reconnect and make things right again.
Their adventures bring them across quirky characters with extreme ideals. Some of them are obstacles for the “family” and others are genuinely trying to help.
Most importantly, the story deals with what is most significant to all families and relationships even if they are in the mob!
Overall, I thought the main characters were developed well and I even began to like some of them and have hopes that things would work out well for them. Some of the writing was difficult to read especially in regard to conversation. The author wrote the accent of the person speaking and sometimes it was too much and slowed the flow of reading down. The plot started off good and had a few surprising moments, but near the end it lost steam. A warning that the language may be offensive to some, although appropriate in the context. This book would be appropriate for anyone who likes mob stories.
Posted March 7, 2012
New York, 1960s. Armando’s daughter is a not-so-sweet young thing with a Bronx accent and a real potty mouth. She’s a tease and is dumping her boyfriend when the book opens. She has a hard time with reasonable expectations for men and her father is the root of that problem. Armando is a thug, but a smart, made man in the Mob. He loved Cassandra’s mother but they divorced because of his job and his many, many infidelities. He’s been a largely absentee father but for some reason, Cassandra wants him in her life again. Maybe it’s because of her mother’s disgusting boyfriend’s attempts to paw her. Although she may look and act like a whore, Cassandra objects to being treated like one. Since Armando is a “made” man deeply entrenched in the Mob, Cassandra devises a plot to reunite her parents and have her mom’s boyfriend removed from the scene… permanently.
The dialogue is well done and authentic to the people, place and time. It takes a little time to get immersed in it but once you’ve master real gangster speak, it’s amusing to hear the characters authentic voices. There are strong farcical overtones to the book; these are indigenous New York ethnic groups that the author knows and understands but he portrays them with a deft, almost comedic touch. Each character is a stereotype and he treats each ethnic group with equal thrusts of his lampoon. A great example of this is Nonna, Armado’s mother, by far the most interesting character in the book. A former assassin for one of the Mafia families, she talks Cassandra and Armando into busting her out of the corrupt and neglectful Jewish nursing home where she lives and later falls in love with a black doctor. She’s wildly implausible and hateful but funny.
Reading all of the machinations of the characters in this book is almost as funny as watching the Keystone Cops. There are lots of subplots, action, reactions, arguments, and black comedy. The pace of the book is fast, the characters appealing and amusing. The only flaws of the book are the demise of Nonna and the weak ending.
Posted March 6, 2012
Armando’s daughter by R.J.Blute is a fictional novel depicting time period of late Sixties. Author himself was a teenager in late sixties just like his protagonist, which I think helped him to characterize his protagonist. Writing style of R.J.Blute is good but can improve a lot with small tweaks.
Armando’s daughter, Cassandra, the main character, she is Funny & have trait of acting stupidly and rashly. Not just that she is way too much sarcastic, so no matter what reader think about this book but he/she is going to learn few great comeback lines of all time. The name “Armando” got that weight which without telling, let readers know he's Don and would be something like good old Godfather, and that's exactly who he is, a Sicilian Mafia. His contribution in the novel is uncontroversial because he is by far the most interesting character in the book. Cassandra's Grandmother, Nonna, is a brainsick or to be more polite she is affected with insanity. There were times when I couldn't put finger on who is suppose to be brutal, Grandma or Armando.
Cassandra’s mom's boyfriend is making indecent advances towards Cassandra and so to get rid of him; she sought professional help of her father Armando. Now the question is how would Armando punish him? Or would he? What would Cassandra do on her own? Etc... Fairly detailed, this book is 320 pages of entertainment, except for dialogs; they had a weird accent which really got on my nerves. Few lines here and there is one thing but on every page is very annoying.
Here’s a good example of a dialog, where Armando is talking with Eddie
“Relax Eddie, will ya. I’m wit my muddah and daughter, fer Christsakes. Just get me a table, my legs are botherin me. And fer Christsakes, do not stick us by da shitters!”
This book is what you call average, nothing too flashy (except funny & gritty) nothing too feeble (except some highly accented dialogs). This book excels on point of having a good Plot to build a strong story but lacks on point of actually building it. So with that this book is 3 out of 5 stars.
Posted February 26, 2012
Armando's Daughter read more like a screenplay than a novel. And the screenplay would be targeted to teenagers who like raunchy, low-life characters with no substance. I had high expectations for Armando's Daughter. The plotline has the potential to become a really good novel, but the dialogue made it cheesy.
After reading the first couple of chapters, I had a difficult time picking up the book to continue reading it. Armando's daughter, Cassandra, was too hard for me to connect with. Cassandra talked about her boyfriend flirting at Mangini's soda fountain, which made me think that the setting was sometime in the sixties. However, the way she conducted herself was so trashy, it was confusing. Did the author want us to believe Cassandra was ahead of her time? A fifteen-year-old with the language of a hardened sailor was just too much for me to like. Even when I managed to read further on in the book, when the author reveals more of her vulnerable side, it was a struggle to relate to her.
Armando was likeable enough, but the his dialogue was just downright annoying. "I'll tell da world it does. Dat was the summer of fifty one, and it was hot. Hell, ass burnin hot. Ya know what I mean, babe." Missing punctuation seemed minor compared to the "dats' and "muddah" words. I understood that they were all from the Bronx and talked with a Bronx accent, but the author needs to give readers some credit. Once we know someone is from the Bronx, we assume they have a Bronx accent. We don't need to see it to the point that it gets extremely obnoxious. This is why it felt like screenplay.
As I said before, there is a good story inside of Armando's Daughter. My favorite part of the book is when Armando and Cassandra are at the beach. I can't say more, but this is when I finally understood all of the characters, and actually liked Cassandra. Armando's Daughter has potential, but for now, I give it two stars.
Posted February 24, 2012
Armando’s Daughter written by R.J. Blute is a humorous spoof novel set in 1968 about a fifteen year old girl named Cassandra who enlists the help of her enforcer father to murder her mom’s boyfriend who is trying to molest her. Sounds a bit heavy doesn’t it? Don’t worry because it’s not. In fact it tries too hard to be “camp”, sometimes losing the thread of the storyline. When I started the book I thought I was settling in for a fun and easy read. Instead, the characters annoyed me and the dialogue, often written in the form of a bad Sicilian accent, gave me a headache. It would have been enough had the author given an example of the accent and left the rest up to the reader’s imagination.
The main character, Cassandra, is a smart-mouthed, tough talking teenager who comes across like a seasoned street walker. I think I was supposed to admire her moxy but instead I just wanted to see someone wipe the snootiness out of her mouth. It is essential, if I’m to enjoy reading a book, that I like the characters, even if I like to hate them. I wanted to like Cassandra but I just could never find anything in her, good or bad, that I cared about. Armando, her father and supposedly terrifying tough guy, is the stereo typical wise guy: flashy, crude, and a momma’s boy. Every time I read his dialogue I imagined the mob boss from The Simpsons. The grandmother, Nonna, is not only demented but suffering from dementia, so she is actually more vicious than either Cassandra or Armando.
This book is like a bad B-movie. I know that it could be good, even really funny, if some things were tweaked starting with losing the accented dialogue. I didn’t dislike the novel so much that I won’t read another book by this author. In fact I want to read more because I think I may like them. I just couldn’t get my head into this one.
Posted October 8, 2011
Reviewed By Roane Swindon for The Pen & Muse! (A&BP Rates The Book) RJ Blute has succeeded in delivering a mature yet humorous story about dysfunctional families and politics, with a bit of fun poked at the Mafia to add to the juice of the story. Funny and satirical, an unconventionally commanding girl named Cassandra is the lead for the story, and all the aspects in writing of language, style and story are effortlessly combined to offer a masterpiece that takes a deep look into family and how, inevitably, they are the people you turn to when there's a problem, even if you do belong to the mob family. The book is a race from start to finish, and readers encounter everything from mobsters and druggies to molesters and trophy boyfriends, all with a healthy dose of fun and sequences that are certain to get you giggling. With the family's constant arguments, one is left to wonder whether the family can ever reunite, but only time will tell.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 26, 2011
Reviewed by Stephanie D. for Readers Favorite
Armando's Daughter by R J Blute is a fast, entertaining read. It has a cast of colorful larger-than-life characters: Armando's daughter herself, the sixteen-year-old Cassandra; Armando, small-time gangster divorced from Nicole, Cassandra's mum; and Armando's tough Italian mother, Nonna. The action begins with Cassandra deciding to ask her father to kill her mother's new boyfriend. But things start to spiral in all sorts of directions. Corrupt politicians are planning to close down the city's pools, just as the hot weather hits. You're left breathless as the events of the book sweep you along. There's violence, gritty language, sexual encounters and a good few deaths, but not necessarily the ones you're expecting.
I enjoyed this book. It's well structured with succinct chapters that sweep you along. Each one is aptly titled. For example, Chapter Seven is "La Stronza" (The Witch) and is where we meet Nonna properly for the first time. The physical layout of the text wasn't good in the Word version of the book I had. My only other niggle is the translating of the phrases in Italian that are used. For example, Nonna says "But, it's a to our il vantaggio. (advantage)." To be less intrusive, I think the author should either leave readers to guess what the Italian means or make less use of it. However, it doesn't spoil the entertainment value of this original and ingeniously plotted story.
Posted May 24, 2011
R.J. Blute's Armando's Daughter is a wildly funny narrative depicting a dysfunctional and separated family who is forced to rely on each other to get out of the trouble they are in. Blute's book features an independent, powerful and headstrong female lead, a refreshing departure from the typical vulnerable and reliant heroine.
Though Blute employs the use of strong language, the style is very loose, easy going, and conversational. Essentially, Armando's Daughter is an entertaining combination of crazy family life, politics, and the mafia, all doused in torrents of hilarious sequences and satire.
When Milton, her mother's boyfriend, attempts to get intimate with her, the protagonist Cassandra Pagliano lets him know-in quite a painful manner-that he is messing with the wrong girl. However, she realizes that if a marriage happens between her mother and Milton, life will be hell for her. At the same time, Cassandra, only sixteen has a boyfriend named Ronnie, more or less a trophy boyfriend, devoid of true affection.
Armando's Daughter feels like a wild goose chase or relay race, with the unfolding plot revolving around Cassandra's endeavors to get her father, Armando, back with her mother and reunite her family. Armando himself is stuck in a mess as he tries to fight powerful politicians who seek to close down public pools, the primary resource for minorities and low-income communities to find relaxation during brutal New York summers. In order to solve the problem, he must garner the help of Nonna, his mother, who is being held captive in a nursing home. Nonna hates kids, and there is MUCH more to her than is apparent.
There is just one problem with this big family reunion: these family members act like sworn enemies. Despite the extremely comedic sequences that result, they can't seem to stop their endless bickering-even if their lives depend on it.
Readers will run into molesters, assassins, mobsters, druggies and bigwig politicians during their roller-coaster ride; however, will there be a happy ending waiting for them at the end of the adventure?
Anyone who wants to be entertained from start to finish, learn a few things about mobsters and politics on the way, and be a part of the nonstop laughter is a highly-recommended candidate for Armando's Daughter.