Snow in August

Snow in August

4.5 56
by Pete Hamill
     
 

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June 1997

Brooklyn, New York, is experiencing a renaissance. You can see it as you walk the trails of Prospect Park, feel it in the wistful nostalgia that still remains for the Brooklyn Dodgers of legendary Ebbets Field. Experience it on the boardwalks and circus shows of Coney Island, see it in the flocks of artists who have moved into Brooklyn

Overview

June 1997

Brooklyn, New York, is experiencing a renaissance. You can see it as you walk the trails of Prospect Park, feel it in the wistful nostalgia that still remains for the Brooklyn Dodgers of legendary Ebbets Field. Experience it on the boardwalks and circus shows of Coney Island, see it in the flocks of artists who have moved into Brooklyn neighborhoods to tap into its creative, historic energy. Journalist Pete Hamill is a native of this storied borough, the son of Irish immigrant parents, and his fictions have often incorporated Brooklyn as a backdrop. His newest release, Snow in August, returns once again to a working-class neighborhood on the "western slopes of the borough" as a setting for an unlikely friendship poised gracefully between the fantasy of Marvel Comics and the reality of what people can teach one another.

Snow in August is concerned first and foremost with the mysteries and lessons of youth. Upon waking one morning to serve as an altar boy for Father Heaney at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, 11-year-old Michael Devlin is greeted by a terrific blizzard swirling outside his Brooklyn apartment building, with winds wild enough to wipe him out on the icy morning streets. The year is 1947, and trolley cars stand frozen in the middle of the avenues. Michael spies only one other soul out in the storm, a rabbi who beckons to him outside of the Jewish synagogue on Kelly Street. The rabbi, a refugee from Prague named Judah Hirsch, offers Michael a nickel to flick on the light switch inside the synagogue, for it is the Sabbath and orthodox rules prevent him from doing so himself. From this initial chance encounter in a swirling Saturday snowstorm, to the moment that these two fast friends share a mute awe upon setting their eyes on the hallowed Ebbets Field for the first time, Hamill brings to life the richness and complexity of this unlikely bond.

For Michael, the rabbi's stories of ancient magic and wisdom transport him to places that even his beloved comic books cannot take him. For Rabbi Hirsch, his determination to learn the ways and means of American culture is appeased by Michael's patient explanations of the language of baseball. Their friendship and daily conversation opens up new worlds to both of them. But the reality of 1947 inevitably intrudes, in the form of a band of anti-Semitic thugs who see no place in the community for Jews nor the people who associate with them. The threats that characters like Frankie McCarthy and others make against the Jews are not idle talk, and soon Michael and Rabbi Hirsch have no choice but to look for a miracle as a way out of the destructive spiral of prejudice and intolerance that encroaches upon their friendship.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's Christmas time, 1946. A blizzard has hit Brooklyn, but altar boy Michael Devlin, 12, is determined to be on time to serve the eight o'clock mass. On his way, he passes the local synagogue, where he sees old Rabbi Hirsch gesturing to him. It is the Jewish Sabbath, and the rabbi needs a non-Jew to switch on the light. Michael does, and is rewarded with a nickel. The boy lives with his Belfast-born mother in a tenement-his father was killed during WWI-and dreams winter dreams of Captain Marvel and of the new Dodgers rookie, Jackie Robinson. But soon neighborhood events will alter Michael's life. He witnesses Frankie McCarthy, a "nasty prick," beat the Jewish owner of the corner candy store into a coma. McCarthy warns Michael to keep quiet, and the frightened boy does. Michael becomes Rabbi Hirsch's Shabbos goy, the gentile who does the needed work on the Sabbath. Soon he is teaching the rabbi, a war refugee, English and baseball. In turn, the rabbi teaches Michael Yiddish and about the golem, a monstrous, animated artificial human being. The idyll is broken as McCarthy and his gang, the Falcons, continue their reign of terror. They paint swastikas on the synagogue. They beat up Michael and sexually harass his mother. Then they batter Rabbi Hirsch nearly to death. Vowing "never again," the boy, possessed of the absolute purity of belief, calls into the Talmudic past for help that will forever change his neighborhood. As in his memoir A Drinking Life, Hamill, in this beautifully woven tale, captures perfectly the daily working-class world of postwar Brooklyn. Sounding religious overtones that will thrill believers and make non-believers pause, he examines with a cool head and a big heart the vulnerabilities and inevitable oneness of humankind.
Library Journal
In Brooklyn in 1947, Michael Devlin, an 11-year-old Irish kid who spends his days reading Captain Marvel and anticipating the arrival of Jackie Robinson, makes the acquaintance of a recently emigrated Orthodox rabbi. In exchange for lessons in English and baseball, Rabbi Hirsch teaches him Yiddish and tells him of Jewish life in old Prague and of the mysteries of the Kabbalah. Anti-Semitism soon rears its head in the form of a gang of young Irish toughs out to rule the neighborhood. As the gang escalates its violence, it seems that only being as miraculously powerful as Captain Marvel-or a golem-could stop them. Strongly evoking time and place, Hamill (Piecework, LJ 12/95), editor of New York's Daily News, serves up a coming-of-age tale with a hearty dose of magical realism mixed in. Recommended for most public libraries.-Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, Mass.
Kirkus Reviews
The eighth novel by New York journalist/now New York Post editor Hamill (Loving Women, 1989; the memoir A Drinking Life, 1994, etc.) finds him as readable as ever.

In postwar working-class Brooklyn, Irish Catholic Michael Devlin, 11, is obsessed with comics, worships Captain Marvel, and wonders why shouting SHAZAM! doesn't turn him into a superhero. His naiveté is crucial to the story, it turns out, since this slice-of-life tale metamorphoses at the finish completely and unexpectedly into fantasy. Michael and two friends are in Mr. Greenberg's candy store when psychopathic bully Frankie McCarthy, 17, comes in, beats up friendly "Mister G," and drops the cash register onto the owner's head, putting him into a coma. Although Michael is a witness, the code of the Irish goes against being a squealer. As his widowed mother Kathleen reminds him, Judas was the world's worst informer. Frankie is detained by the police and lets Michael know that he'll get his face carved up if he turns rat. For good measure, Michael is beaten up by Frankie's gang, the Falcons, who break his leg. After he's released from the hospital, he's attacked again, along with Kathleen. She still won't let Michael rat on Frankie, but she plans to move to Bay Ridge. Meantime, Michael has become the goy who works on the Jewish sabbath for a very poor rabbi. While the rabbi teaches him Yiddish in return for Michael's correcting his own English, the two become richly involved in the career of Jackie Robinson, the first black player to crack the majors. The rabbi also tells Michael about Rabbi Loew's golem, the Captain Marvel of the Jews. When Michael hears that Frankie McCarthy has got a pistol and intends to kill him, he decides to summon up a superhero of his own.

A slow-moving opening, with Hamill as earnestly humorless as ever, but the time-warp element and terrific descriptions will appeal to many.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786212217
Publisher:
Macmillan Library Reference
Publication date:
11/28/1997
Edition description:
LARGEPRINT
Pages:
507
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.76(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt

Snow in August


By Pete Hamill

Warner Books

Copyright © 1998 Pete Hamill
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0446606251


Chapter One

Once upon a cold and luminous Saturday morning, in an urban hamlet of tenements, factories, and trolley cars on the western slopes of the borough of Brooklyn, a boy named Michael Devlin woke in the dark.

He was eleven years and three months old in this final week of the year 1946, and because he had slept in this room for as long as he could remember, the darkness provoked neither mystery nor fear. He did not have to see the red wooden chair that stood against the windowsill; he knew it was there. He knew his winter clothes were hanging on a hook on the door and that his three good shirts and his clean underclothes were neatly stacked in the two drawers of the low green bureau. The Captain Marvel comic book he'd been reading before falling asleep was certain to be on the floor beside the narrow bed. And he knew that when he turned on the light he would pick up the comic book and stack it with the other Captain Marvels on the top shelf of the metal cabinet beside the door. Then he would rise in a flash, holding his breath to keep from shivering in his underwear, grab for clothes, and head for the warmth of the kitchen. That was what he did on every dark winter morning of his life.

But this morning was different.

Because of the light.

His room, on the top floor of the tenement at 378 Ellison Avenue, was at once dark and bright, with tiny pearls of silver glistening in the blue shadows. From the bed, Michael could see a radiant paleness beyond the black window shade and gashes of hard white light along its sides. He lay there under the covers, his eyes filled with the bright darkness. A holy light, he thought. The light of Fatima. Or the Garden of Eden. Or the magic places in storybooks. Suddenly, he was sure it was like the light in the Cave of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man. That secret place in the comic book where the faceless man in the black suit first took Billy Batson to meet the ancient Egyptian wizard named Shazam. Yes: the newsboy must have seen a light like this. Down there, beyond the subway tunnel, in that long stone cave where the white-bearded wizard gave him the magic word that called down the lightning bolt. The lightning bolt that turned the boy into Captain Marvel, the world's mightiest man.

Michael knew that the magic word was the same as the name of the wizard: Shazam! And he had learned from the comic book that the letters of the name stood for Solomon, Hercules, and Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. Ancient gods and heroes. Except for Solomon, who was a wise king from Bible days. Mighty symbols of strength, stamina, power, courage, and speed. They weren't just names in a comic book either; Michael had looked them up in the encyclopedia. And their powers were all combined in Captain Marvel. On that night in the mysterious cave, the wizard named Shazam told Billy Batson he had been chosen to fight the forces of evil because he was pure of heart. And no matter how sinister his enemies were, no matter how monstrous their weapons, all he needed to fight them was to shout the magic word. Shazam!

Alas, on the streets of the parish, the magic word did not work for Michael Devlin and his friends, and for at least three years they had debated the reasons. Maybe they needed to get the powers directly from the Egyptian wizard. Maybe the word didn't work because they weren't pure enough. Or because, as his friend Sonny Montemarano put it, Captain Marvel was just a story in a fucking comic book. Still, Michael insisted, it might be true. Who could ever know? Maybe all they had to do was believe hard enough for it to happen.

Michael was snapped back into the present by the sound of the wind. First a low moan. Then a high-pitched whine. A trombone choir, then a soprano saxophone. Tommy Dorsey's band, and then Sidney Bechet. The names and music he had learned from the radio. It sounded to Michael like the voice of the light. He sat up, his heart pounding, wondering what time it was, afraid that he had overslept, and swung his feet around to the floor. They landed on the Captain Marvel comic book.

I wish I didn't have to do this, he thought. Sometimes being an altar boy was a huge pain in the ass. I wish I could just lie in bed and listen to the wind. Instead of dragging myself all the way to Sacred Heart to mouth a lot of mumbo jumbo in a language nobody even speaks. I wish I could fall back into this warm bed, pull the covers around me, and sleep.

But he did not sink back into the warmth. In his mind, he saw his mother's disappointed face and Father Heaney's angry eyes. Worse: he felt suddenly alarmed, as if he had come close to the sin of sloth. Even Shazam warned against sloth, listing it among the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, and Shazam wasn't even a Catholic. The word itself had a disgusting sound, and he remembered a picture of an animal called a sloth that he'd seen in a dictionary. Thick, furry, nasty. He imagined it growing to the size of King Kong, waddling wetly through the city, stinking of filth and laziness and animal shit. A dirty goddamned giant sloth, with P-38s firing machine guns at it, the bullets vanishing into the hairy mush of its formless body, its open mouth a pit of slobber. Jesus Christ.

So Michael did not even raise the black window shade. He grabbed his trousers, thinking: The antonym for sloth must be self-denial. Or movement. Or a word that said get off your ass, get up and go. When the priests, brothers, and nuns were not drilling them in synonyms or antonyms or the eleven times table, they were forever hammering away about self-denial. And so, buttoning his fly in the dark, he refused himself the pleasure of pulling the shade aside, or rolling it up, and thus revealing the source of the luminous light. He would wait. He would put off that vision. He would offer up his discomfort, as his teachers commanded him to do, for the suffering souls in Purgatory. Be good. Be pure. Accept some pain and thus redeem those who are burning for their sins. He could hear the chilly orders of his catechism teachers as clearly as he could hear Shazam.

Shirtless and shoeless, he hurried through the dark living room and past his mother's closed bedroom door to the kitchen, which faced the harbor of New York. The fire in the coal stove had guttered and died during the night, and the linoleum floors were frigid on his bare feet. He didn't care. Now he would deny himself no longer. He lifted the kitchen window shade, and his heart tripped.

There was the source of the light.

Snow.

Still falling on the rooftops and backyards of Brooklyn.

Snow now so deep, so dense and packed, that the world glowed in its blinding whiteness.

The thrilling view pebbled his skin. It had been snowing for two days and nights, great white flakes on the first day and then harder, finer snow driven by the wind off the harbor. The boy had seen nothing like it. Ever. He could remember six of his eleven winters on the earth, and there had never been snow like this. This was snow out of movies about the Yukon that he watched in the Venus. This was like the great Arctic blizzards in the stories of Jack London that he read in the library on Garibaldi Street. Snow that hid wolves and covered automobiles and crushed cabins and halted trolley cars. Snow that caused avalanches to cover the entrances of gold mines and snow that cracked limbs off trees in Prospect Park. Snow from a mighty storm. The night before, someone on the radio said that the blizzard had paralyzed the city. Here it was, the next morning, and the snow was still coming down, erasing the world.

He stepped into the narrow bathroom off the kitchen, closing the door behind him. The tiles were colder than the linoleum. His teeth chattered. He urinated, pulled the chain to flush, and then washed his face quickly in the cold water of the sink, thinking: I will go into it; I will face the storm, climb the hard hills, push into the wind of the blizzard to the church on the hill. Father Heaney, a veteran of the war, will celebrate the eight o'clock mass, and I will be there at his side. The only human being to make it through the blizzard. Even the old ladies in black, those strange old biddies who make it to church through rainstorms and heat waves, even they will fail to make it through the storm. The pews will be empty. The candles will flicker in the cold. But I will be there.

His heart raced at the prospect of the great test. He didn't care now about the souls in Purgatory. He wanted the adventure. He wished he had a dogsled waiting downstairs. He wished he could bundle himself in furs and lift a leather whip and urge the huskies forward, shouting, Mush, boys, mush! He had the serum in a pouch and by God, he would get it to Nome.

He combed his hair, and when he stepped out of the bathroom, his mother, Kate, was raking the ashes in the coal stove, her flannel robe pulled tightly around her, worn brown slippers on her feet. Steam leaked from her mouth into the frigid air. A teapot rested on the black cast-iron top of the stove, waiting for heat.

"Let me do that, Mom," the boy said. "That's my job."

"No, no, you're already washed," she said, in her soft Irish accent, a hair of irritation in her voice. Raking the dead ashes was one of Michael's chores, but in his excitement over the blizzard, he'd forgotten. "Just go and get dressed."

"I'll do it," he said, taking the flat shovel from her and digging the ashes out of the bottom tray. He poured them into a paper bag, a gray powder rising in the air to mix with the steam from his breath, then shoveled fresh coal from the bucket onto the grate. The fine ash made him sneeze.

"For the love of God, Michael, get dressed," she said now, pushing him aside. "You'll catch your death of cold."

Back in his room, at the far end of the railroad flat, he pulled an undershirt over his head and a dark green shirt on top of it, shoving the tails into his trousers. After tugging galoshes over his shoes, he finally raised the blackout shade. The snow was piled against the windowpane at least two feet above the steel slats of the fire escape. Beyond the steep drift, snow swirled like a fog so dense he could not see across Ellison Avenue. He hurried back into the kitchen. A fire was burning now in the coal stove, its odor staining the air like rotten eggs. He wished his mother would buy the Blue Coal advertised on The Shadow; it was harder-anthracite, they said in school-with almost no smell. But she told him once that they couldn't afford it and he never asked again.

"I'm sure you could stay home if you like, Michael," she said, the irritation out of her voice now. "They know how far you have to come."

"I can do it," he said, combing his hair, choosing not to remind her that the church was eight blocks from 378 Ellison Avenue. From the backyards he heard a sound that he was sure was the howling of a thousand wolves.

"Still," she said, pouring water for tea, "it's a terrible long way in this storm."

He followed her glance to the wall clock: seven twenty-five. He had time. He was certain that she also looked at the framed photograph of his father. Thomas Devlin. Michael was named for his mother's father, who had died in Ireland long ago. The photograph of his own father was hanging beside the picture of President Roosevelt that she'd cut out of the Daily News magazine when he died. For a moment, Michael wondered what she thought about when she looked at the picture of his father. The boy didn't remember many details about the man she called Tommy. He was a large man with dark hair and a rough, stubbled beard who had gone off to the army when Michael was six. And had never come back. In the framed formal photograph, he was wearing his army uniform. The skin on his smiling face looked smooth. Much smoother than it actually felt. His hair was covered by the army cap, but at the sides it was lighter than the boy remembered. That brown hair. And a deep voice with an Irish brogue. And a blue Sunday suit and polished black shoes. And a song about the green glens of Antrim. And stories about a dog he had as a boy in Ireland, a dog named Sticky, who could power a boat with his tail and fly over mountains. His mother surely remembered much more about him. The boy knew his father had been killed in Belgium in the last winter of the war, and thought: Maybe the blizzard reminds her of Tommy Devlin dead in the snow, a long way from Brooklyn. Maybe that's why she's irritated. It's not my lollygagging. It's the snow.

"I wish you could eat something," she said, sipping her tea, but not pouring a cup for Michael because she knew he could neither eat nor drink before serving mass.

"I've got to receive Communion, Mom."

"Well, hurry home. There'll be bacon and eggs."

Usually he was famished and thirsty on mornings before mass, but the excitement of the storm was driving him now. He took his mackinaw from the closet beside the front door.

"Wear a hat, lad," she said.

"This has a hood, Mom," he said, "and it's real warm. Don't worry."

She took the starched surplice from the clothesline and covered it with butcher paper, closing the wrapping with Scotch tape. Then she kissed him on the cheek as he opened the door to the hall. Halfway down the first flight of stairs, he glanced back, and she was watching him go, her arms folded, her husband smiling from the wall behind her, right next to the dead president of the United States.

I wish she wasn't so sad, he thought.

And then, leaping down the three flights of stairs to the street, he braced himself for the storm.



Continues...


Excerpted from Snow in August by Pete Hamill Copyright © 1998 by Pete Hamill. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Snow in August 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
EunieKS More than 1 year ago
Snow in August is about 11-year-old Michael Devlin, an Irish Catholic who becomes friends with an Orthodox Jew, Rabbi Hirsch, a recent immigrant to America. Set in a borough of Brooklyn in 1947, following WWII in which Michael's father gave his life at the Battle of the Bulge and Rabbi Hirsch's beloved wife lost hers in her fight against the fanatical Hitler by trying to organize the Jews to leave for Palestine. Michael teaches Rabbi Hirsch English and American ways and the rabbi teaches the boy Yiddish and tells him stories of Jewish life back in Prague, as well as the mysteries of the Kabbalah. 1947 is the year Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, anti-Semitism and the distrust of others not of one's culture or nationality was alive and well in America. A gang of young Irish teens set out to rule the neighborhood by intimidation, feeding on violence and hatred until, through Michael, a powerful force is brought to bear against them. The story of the friendship between the boy and the rabbi is a touching one and I especially enjoyed the interaction between the two. The ending was not as I had imagined and didn't give me the satisfaction the ending I envisioned would have, but, of course, it wasn't my story. Eunice Boeve, author of Ride a Shadowed Trail
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. Pete Hamill has just the magic touch to bring words to life. This isn't as good as his book 'Forever' but it's still an amazing book. It really takes you to back to the 1940s in NYC.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sad, happy, historical, cynical, religious, ethnic,fast paced....all packed into this one book....loved it.....could not put it down....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though it had been lying on my desk for nearly two years when I finally decided to read it; it was a great novel and Pete Hamill is a brilliant author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i finishef this remarkable novel I sat spellbound for many many minutes. You just don't want to let go or fade from memory. As an older adult and grandfather i look back on my youth and my confusions and realize that Hamill got it so so right. Beautiful. I have never written to an author but Snow in August makes me wsnt to reach out to the author and simply say Yes...oh yes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great story of of a young boy and the streets of New York in the early 40's. Gangs, Dodger's baseball and a struggling widowed mom during World War Two. The boy finds a friend and life lessons on his way to church in a snowstorm. I couldn't put it down and have recommended it to all of my friends. Luckygram
BabyReads More than 1 year ago
Loved this book, love this author, they have a heartbeat. Loyalty, and betrayal, by people we love -and used to love, captured in story with a graininess and humanity reminiscent of , "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Hamill writes "literature." This baby is happy to have read two Hamill novels (and soon to devour two more).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is simply ome of the finest novels I've ever read. Highly recommended!
PJMD More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written, takes you to the NY of the 40's, Brooklyn Dodgers, immigrant experiences lovingly described, yet realistic. A good bit of Jewish folklore, linked to Irish folklore. Couldn't put it down (or, couldn't shut off my NOOK!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply put, I liked this story--told from an innocent young boy's point of view but with an injection of the sometimes harsh realities that too many children have to face in this world. I was surprised by another reviewer's comment that Catholics were shown in a predominantly negative light, because--as a Catholic--I was pleasantly surprised that most were shown positively. I kept waiting for the pedophile priest or the "jew-hating" rhetoric, but, while there was no attempt to deny that such behaviors exist, most people in general in the story were shown to be tolerant and decent to one another. Sure, fear of retribution from bullies and gangs kept people quiet, but that is something most every person can identify with. I picked this book up at the library when I took out another Pete Hamill book--Forever--and in both cases, enjoyed the element of faith/hope/magic/sense of wonder that played a major role. Yeah, he spent a lot of time on baseball, which didn't interest me, but not so much that I lost interest in the bigger story. I'll look for more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book about a year ago, and looking back on it now I can still remember every detail. It was amazing, worth every penny. If you enjoyed this book, I highly recommend Pete Hamill's Forever.
klh More than 1 year ago
This is the first Pete Hamill book I have read and I will be reading more of his collection. Great story with excellent character development that keeps your interest to the very last page. The descriptions of New York during the depression are intriguing for this baby boomer. This would be a great choice for a book club ~ highly recommend this book and it would make a nice gift/stocking stuffer for anyone.
bookhog More than 1 year ago
Courage, determination, understanding, tolerance and inttolerance. what a better world we would have without bullies, who truly are lonely, and lost and have only their cruelty to others, to give them power and a place in society. A simple act of kindness brings a lifetime of learning and friendship.
Gracie_L More than 1 year ago
Any book by Pete Hamill is worth reading, but this one was especially humanistic. Pete Hamill has such an elegant writing style that I was immediately hooked. The characters are as real as the city itself and the plot was unique with a lemon twist. Read it!
sarafenix More than 1 year ago
This book transported me into the magical world of New York neighborhoods with all of the charm and stumbling blocks thrown in with a mixture of childhood and fear.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful, powerful, moving and illustrates how people of different religious backrounds can build warm and loving relationships, find common ground to build on and in spite of different traditions are really more alike than different. I must strongly disagree with the writer who urges how unbelievable the friendship here was. I was raised Catholic but of late I have been attending services at a Jewish synagogue. I must say four rabbis and many Jewish members there have embraced me & my family and welcomed us so warmly to services, events, & classes. They do in fact teach me Hebrew and welcomed my daughter into Hebrew classes. This book really hit home for me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Snow in August was an awesome book!! I definitely enjoyed this one! (I finished it in a day)This was excellent! I wish more books were like this one! Schools usually pick bad summer reading books, but this one was brilliant! There is no bad part of this book! Rock on Pete Hamill!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with Pete Hamill when I read his book 'Forever'....which was also a fantastic book! I think I'd have to say that Snow in August was the best book I've read in a long time! I felt like I was there...it made me laugh and cry...I'd love to see a movie made out of this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great story! I was entertained, I learned something and would recommend this book to my 11 year old grandson. Although, many subjects were covered, they were woven together in such a way that they were easy to follow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book to read. When i first opened it i looked at the great reviews;and was skeptical to whether they were as good as they said. After finishing the book in a week i was very pleased. I recommend this book to teen readers as well as adults. It's combines faith, hope, despair and change in less than a year in the eyes of a child.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was very entertaining, thought-provoking, and (for the most part) believable. I think we all had the neighborhood bully (or bullies), so it's easy to empathize with Michael Devlin. I struggled with the ending and had to read it twice (from the point of the digging in the Quaker cemetary). Could it be a dream sequence? What I struggled with was the conflict between what I wanted to happen and what could realistically happen...reality vs. fantasy. Read if for yourself and see what you think. Regardless, it is definitely a worthwhile read, and I'm sure a movie deal will be forthcoming.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Easily the best book I have ever read. Engrossing, spectacular, magical. A true wonder.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a truly wonderful book. I couldn't put it down. I loved falling into the story and the period. I also enjoyed how Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers, WWII, the Rabbi and the boy were all woven together. I'll have to read more of Pet Hamill.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. I learned a lot from the rabbi and the lore he shared with the boy was fascinating. It's unlike any book I've ever read. I keep watching for another book like this from Pete Hamill.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hello! I truly, honestly loved this book. It made me wonder about my own life, and my reasons for believing. It's an interesting novel in the early centuary, with a slow beginning...but once you start it's hard to stop. Try it...I know you'll love it and learn life lessons from it!