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Funny Boys

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Overview

Mickey Fine, a young man with a promising future in comedy, gets a job as an entertainer at a lavish casino in the Catskills. But he is naive to the more sinister, mobster element of his audience, and soon the body count starts mounting.

The acclaimed author of The War of the Roses takes on the New York of his childhood in this darkly funny comedy of errors about success, the mob, and finding true love.

Mickey Fine is a young man with a ...

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Funny Boys

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Overview

Mickey Fine, a young man with a promising future in comedy, gets a job as an entertainer at a lavish casino in the Catskills. But he is naive to the more sinister, mobster element of his audience, and soon the body count starts mounting.

The acclaimed author of The War of the Roses takes on the New York of his childhood in this darkly funny comedy of errors about success, the mob, and finding true love.

Mickey Fine is a young man with a promising future in comedy. Attracted to the crowd applause at a lavish hotel casino in the Catskills, he gets a job as a tumler: part entertainer, part host, all funny boy. But he is naive to the more sinister side of his audience, made up of mobsters and other power players of New York’s underbelly.

When Mutzie Feder, a Jean Harlow-esque gangster girlfriend with dreams of escaping her brutal reality, gets into the act with Mickey, the sparks begin to fly. But as their circumstances start catching up with them and the body count starts mounting, Mickey and Mutzie start angling for a way out. That, of course, isn’t as easy as it sounds.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Set mostly in the Borscht Belt, Adler's satiric take on 1930s New York gangsters falls short of the mark set by such other novels of his as The War of the Roses. Mickey Fine, an itinerant entertainer known as a tumler, has landed a gig at a Catskill hotel frequented by some of the leading thugs of the day. He falls for Mutzie Feder, a frustrated young woman from Brooklyn who's ended up as the girlfriend of Pittsburgh Phil Strauss (aka Pep) after a makeover so she looks like Jean Harlow. As Fine's feelings for Mutzie grow, he runs afoul of the jealous Pep and must develop a plan to free her from the life of prostitution the gangster has planned for her.A At times Adler overdoes the Brooklynese dialogue ("Certain tings make me crazy. Like sweet liddle canaries who can't keep der lips clamped shut"), while some readers may find the parodic element makes it hard to engage emotionally with the characters. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A tumler and a good-time girl tangle with some nasty mobsters at a Catskills hotel in this latest from Adler (The War of the Roses, 2004, etc.). Twenty-two-year-old Mickey Fine doesn't care that his father thinks comedy is no profession for a nice Jewish boy. He takes a job as social director at Gorlick's, a hotel/casino, even though he knows the clientele is composed of Jewish gangsters, their wives, kids and girlfriends. "Absolutely no wop jokes," warns Sol Gorlick; apparently the gangsters' Italian boss, Albert Anastasia, doesn't find those funny. Readers won't find many of Mickey's jokes funny, but he charms 18-year-old Mutzie Feder, a fellow Brooklynite who dreams of movie stardom but settles for Pep Strauss, a handsome killer who makes her his "number one" and sends her to Gorlick's for the summer of 1937. It turns out that being Pep's number one includes being pimped to Anastasia and passed on to the local madam as a prostitute-not exactly what Mutzie had in mind when she dyed her hair Jean Harlow platinum. Luckily for her, Mickey's fallen in love with Mutzie. (Who knows why, since she's an accumulation of cliches, like all Adler's characters.) So the boy and girl take it on the lam after witnessing one of Pep's contract murders and get all the way to Albany, where Governor Herbert Lehman promises them he'll nail those mobsters . . . just as soon as he wins the next election. A gangster wannabe named Irish catches the couple and brings them back to Gorlick's, where the enraged Pep waits to dole out retribution. It takes some really bad jokes from Mickey and Mutzie's clever manipulation of Irish to get them out of Gorlick's and on the road to Hollywood. You were expecting maybeShakespeare? Undemanding readers undeterred by the cardboard characters, B-movie dialogue and total lack of period atmosphere will probably keep flipping pages to find out where the silly plot is going.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590200346
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 3/13/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Customer Reviews

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( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    To mark

    R u ready for some fun nook se.x.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    Mark

    Yep

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Not SO Funny

    Since I started it, I finished it, but I wouldn't have started it had I known what a weak story it was. The characters were not compelling or particularly interesting. The story line dragged. No new lines of literature were drawn. The book jacket describes it as "a timeless love story" and a "sweeping American tale." Perhaps the jacket writer might have done better with the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2008

    A GEM OF A READ

    I was not familiar with the author's previous works, but have always been fascinating with the whole Murder Incorporated scene and its relationship to the Catskill hotel community. This book was no disappointment. Rich characters, peppy language, mixed with Jewish humor and crime made this a 'stay up all night' and read book, A great find!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    Not that funny

    I'm so happy to see Adler publishing again. While I enjoy his website, there is nothing like curling up with a good book. However, this was not one of my favorites. Perhaps because I grew up in the Midwest & am not Jewish, I could not appreciate the humor or understand the Catskill scene.

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