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Random House LLC
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Dodgers: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 306 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Overall, I'd say that the first chapter was my least favorite. I enjoyed things much more once the main plot of finding the judge kicked in. I actually was hoping for a bigger twist at that point-- but it reversed and focused more on East's inner journey for his fish out of water/coming of age tale.
There were some great twists throughout, though a few lacked believability. With some of the minor characters.
The prose at times was wordy and unclear-- but that's just nitpicking. This was a GREAT book. It definitely deserves a sequel-- but I hope if Bill pursues that, he chooses a strong plot for the ENTIRE novel. The characters are amazing. The complaints about them being unlikable are ridiculous. They have redeeming qualities that help the reader connect.
The author did an amazing job at making the lead likable and giving all the characters a unique voice. East was a great character to follow. Same for Walter. Ty didn't have much to like-- but he was interesting-- and that's all you can ask.
I knew nothing of this novel before I bought it. It's written by a white man, and uses black street language for his characters to communicate. Hat's off to having the courage to do that. I didn't find it at all offensive, but I'm white. Somehow, I don't think it would be an African American, but of course I can't say.
This book weaves in and out of minimalism, which I like. If you're looking for gang action it's not for you. Usually, "arty" writing puts me off, but I stayed engaged thougout. I thought about the characters, and wondered what would happen. The Dodgers gives a heavy nod to The Wire, but quieter. It calls Haruf, but as teenage black (boys to-) men expelled from LA. The violence is very well contextualized and it carries a greater impact for it's normalcy.
The story builds a very quiet tension, and pays nice attention to detail. But not too much...all in all plausible, entertaining, interesting, somewhat odd, and subversive. I recommend it.
Two small quibbles - the writer doesn't write women anywhere near as bravely as he writes about another ethnicity (hardly at all and as props). And donuts come out of the fryer, not the oven.
Beverly's use of the road trip as the means of unpacking each character is done well. There are some pretty incredible insights found here. Violence, social designation, loyalty, family, and the need for community are all explored in ways that I have yet to see in other writers. Beverly gets some Pelecanos references. I get that, but I feel strongly that he stands on his own. By far the best book I've read this year, I can't recommend this enough.