Honest Sid

Honest Sid

by Ronald Probstein
4.6 16

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Honest Sid 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are so many wonderful gems in Honest Sid.The setting is New York City in the first half of the 20th century and the story comprised of recollections of a young boy's experiences growing up as the city and country grew. Historical events in our collective consciousness are recounted in a way that gives fresh awareness and a new perspective. Remember Orson Wells and transistor radios? The two will be cemented forever in your mind. Descriptions of everyday family life are delightful. You may know that food was once served from Automats (or maybe not?), but you'll gain a new appreciation for how exciting automation was back then. Don't think the New York City subway could have anything to do with perfecting a fishing rod? It's a Huck Finn moment in the big city. Just after I read Honest Sid I watched Coppola's The Cotton Club and realized anew why this is such a remarkable book. The setting for the movie is New York City in the same time period as the book. The movie captures the glamour and glitz of the fashion and lavish décor born of the exuberant milieu of the music and dance of the same era. It is a fascinating account of how gangsters footed the bill for this "high life' with crime and pervasive violence. But, we don't really see the lives of ordinary citizens in The Cotton Club. Here's why the book is often better than the movie-and in this case why Honest Sid is a more fascinating account of the times. In Honest Sid the glamour, glitz and gangsters serve as a well illustrated back drop for the equally dramatic account of the gritty struggle of a family to survive in the midst of it all. The story is told through the experiences of a child growing up in New York City when it was often extraordinarily difficult for ordinary families to secure a roof over their heads and food for the table. This family's struggle is all the more difficult because the man of the house can't quite find his place in the world, can't find an occupation suitable for his vision of himself that will also enable him to provide stability for his family. The father gambles a fine line. He knows he doesn't have the heart of a thug and wouldn't survive immersed in the gangster world. Yet he knows he wouldn't survive the everyday grind of an everyman's job either. We see his struggle through the eyes of his son who has no choice but to ride the rollercoaster of his father's ups and downs; in the money, out of money, moving uptown and down, and ultimately the shame of no more moves to make. Strangely enough, this is not an unhappy tale. There is a special tenderness in this father's love for his son that somehow remains untainted-for both of them. While the historical and cultural backdrop of this family's struggle is well documented and interesting, Honest Sid is a gem because it's an intriguing look at a father-son relationship that beats the odds in very difficult times.
muki More than 1 year ago
This is the remarkable and beautifully written story of a fascinating family in New York in the 1920s to 1940s. The father, Sid, is a gambler, fixer, hustler, bookie and ticket scalper, always south of the law but always honest and trustworthy. The mother, Sally, keeps the family going in hard times, which is most of the time. The son, Ronald, fishes coins through subway grates in the sidewalks to help the family, and rises to become one the most distinguished scientists of our time. The author paints a vivid picture of Broadway in the Roaring Twenties and during the Depression and the Second World War, a picture that could have served as the real life model of the blockbuster fictional play "Guys and Dolls" . Along the way the author meets crooked politicians, policemen, and theater workers, and unforgettable characters like Harry the Horse the gambler, Champ Segal the mobster, Joe Louis the Brown Bomber, and Cardinal Spellman, who saved Sid from going yet once more to jail. This entertaining book, full of joy and sorrow, anecdotes and life, is written in a riveting style that makes the reader feel as if he were part of the family, witnessing the events first hand.
Marked-Elliott More than 1 year ago
Emotional story from a boy point of view growing up in the 30's in New York. Author shared his personal tale about his father, who was not afraid of taking risk. How the young boy learned truth of life from his father, Author goes in to the details about his father gambling life and how all of this left prints on this boy's mind. Very touching story and a fast read, if you want a walk in to the past of a New yorker of that time this is for you.
PAT-240 More than 1 year ago
Honest Sid by Ronald Probstein is the heart-warming, extremely honest and vividly detailed account of the author's early life experiences and upbringing in betting parlours, fighter gyms, cigar shops and endless places of residence with his handsome, gentle natured, loveable rogue of a father, Sid. We follow the family through good times and bad, through the war years and in peace time,and feel their love but also their pain. This captivating and compelling read will keep you page turning from the start to the emotionally charged ending. I loved this book and highly recommend it. Happy reading everyone
little-lizzie More than 1 year ago
An exceptional story of overcoming struggle and adversity.  A boy can see his father through a unique prism and that happens in this story of love and family.  This is a piece of work that surely should be at the top of it's genre.  
Maybank-Books More than 1 year ago
Honesty pours through in every fibre of this delightful story. A beautiful and unique view of one families journey through from the 1920's. This book will give each reader something different and will never disappoint. 
Elizabeth_Duggan More than 1 year ago
Remarkably written and a true message - no matter how tough life gets, you're family will always be your family and their love will pull you through. A book I wish I could read for the 1st time over and over. 
CharleneR More than 1 year ago
Can one man that doesn't live by the law make you want to be more like him? Yes is the answer. A fabulous story that will have you captivated from start to finish. 
SandraLene More than 1 year ago
A true sense of family coming together against all odds and against any enemies. Beautifully written in a way that you, the reader, feel a part of this families struggle and never fading love. 
GuySmiley More than 1 year ago
A brilliant coming of age story set in a mesmerising time and a wonderful city. I have already recommended this novel to friends and family. 
ChrisT88 More than 1 year ago
The struggle is great but the reward is greater... A story that resonates just as much now as it did back then. An emotional roller-coaster seen through the eyes of a young boy. A wonderful read and something I will definitely be reading again.
TabithaJR More than 1 year ago
This book has something for everyone, all set at a time and in a place where anything is possible! This book stands out amongst the many, many memoirs out there. A brilliantly crafted piece of work.   
TrinityTrinTrin More than 1 year ago
Love, love love. Thank you for letting us into your world! I laughed, I cried, I hoped and I dreamed along with these beautiful characters. 
Cass-a-Nova More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. A wonderful journey that I truly felt I'd experienced first hand. The author brings you directly into this word. I highly recommend this great novel.
TommyG26 More than 1 year ago
A captivating story, beautifully crafted, that will leave you with a great sense of nostalgia. 
CassandraND More than 1 year ago
I have read quite a few memoirs and biographies but this is a slice of America that really makes one nostalgic for that time when anything felt possible.  Whether it would be to cast your lot with a roll of the dice or on a fast horse, you really do feel that the world is there for the taking.  Honest Sid is just that, HONEST at it's core and the author really comes across with an authentic voice.  I highly recommend this novel to people who want to see the world from the eyes of a man who was destined to beat the grading curve of humanity.