Tom Bonk, unwillingly taking over the family business from his deadbeat, absentee father, starts off with little but regrets. "My first thought was of my fellow college students who watched too many episodes of Cheers
and thought owning a bar was a great way of life," the hero of Daniel Putkowski's Bonk's Bar
narrates. "To them it was a never-ending stream of witty jokes, impossible love affairs and plenty of cash to support it all. Maybe there were places in Philadelphia that were like that. Bonk's Bar wasn't." Bonk does his level best, though. With more than a little Horatio Alger bootstrapping, he sets aside his college education, gets behind the rail and consoles himself with a cash business and crash coursework at the University of Life. And Bonk's Bar,
much like its Port Richmond model, turns itself around with neighborhood grit and crab-and-a-beer specials. Putkowski's story keeps its focus steadily on Bonk's learning curve. There's a little desperation and some heavy foreshadowing, some hassles from the law and the mob, a stack of debts and a handful of domestic disputes. But even with a real-life model at Richmond and Tioga, the bar's story is entirely Bonk's, and his hard work and good character provide the key ingredients in transforming a watered-booze dive into a packed draw, and a callow college kid into a businessman. --Justin Bauer, Philadelphia City Paper
About the Author
Daniel Putkowski divides his time between Philadelphia and the Dutch Caribbean isle of Aruba. His first novel, An Island Away, went on to become the #1 bestselling book in Aruba in 2008. He is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.