Top positive review
An excellent book up through the middle of the last section.
Reviewed in the United States on August 2, 2013
This is the story of Dylan Ebdus growing up as a lonely white boy in the middle of Black and Puerto Rican Brooklyn in the early 70s. I especially liked how the language gets more complex as Dylan grows up. Dylan spends most of his life getting "yoked" meaning put in a head lock and shaken down for money or pizza or whatever. Being the lone white kid in this neighborhood is tough. Dylan eventually meets Mingus Rude who is a year older and helps him a little bit in being accepted, but not really enough. Neither Dylan nor Mingus have a mother present and the fathers are basically useless, caught up in their own passions of art and drugs. The last section brings the characters together again after Dylan has established the beginning of a journalism career and writing liner notes for CD collections. Music of the 70s provides a big backdrop for the stories
I was lucky in school; I was never an outcast; I wasn't in the most "in" group but I was a satellite. I knew people like Dylan in elementary, junior high, and senior high school. This book is a beautifully told view of the down and and kids.
The first section of this 3 section book is almost unbearably good. Section 2 is very short and sets the stage for section 3. Section starts strong but turns to fantasy when the Flying Man's ring makes a reappearance. It really seems forced and a complete turnaround from the extreme realism in the first section. I liked the ending, but not the way it was managed. Had I read this first, I not have followed up with Motherless Brooklyn. Good thing I Motherless Brooklyn first.
And, I think Motherless Brooklyn would have been a better title for this book.
Having said all that, I highly recommend this book; but if you don't like how the ending is managed don't give up on Lethem; read Motherless Brooklyn