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Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody Kindle Edition
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Review Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed By Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
A.A. Freda's Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody is a beautiful story that is beautifully told. The prose is powerful and the narrative voice is so clear and compelling its hard to put the story down.
From the Author
- File Size : 948 KB
- Print Length : 317 pages
- ASIN : B01M1SFHNA
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publication Date : September 20, 2016
- Publisher : FriesenPress; 1st Edition (September 20, 2016)
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,819,387 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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A.A. Freda’s novel is a coming of age story of first-generation Italian immigrant teenagers living out their high school years in the Bronx of the early 1960’s. It details the lives of Joey, the narrator, and his cousin Spike, along with their friends and fellow gang members of the Black Knights.
The book opens with Spike experiencing a mental breakdown. Following chapters reveal Joey’s understanding of Spike’s complex personality. Woven into the story are Spike’s relationship with his absent father, his experiences in Italy before coming to America, his sexual escapades with neighborhood girls and women, and the concluding tragedy that forces all of them over the threshold into adulthood.
While Joey narrates the story of Spike, he also leads the reader through his personal experience of being an adolescent boy surrounded by Old World parents, aunts and uncles. While his cousin Spike is often depicted as being a Golden Gloves tough guy popular with the girls, the reader can feel Joey’s insecurities of being on the fringe of the “in group”. He longs to become part of America and the Black Knights. He excitedly retreats to his secret viewing point of Spike’s sexual conquests, while patiently waiting to find the right girl who will end his own virginity. Joey is clearly a sensitive and vulnerable teenage boy.
There was something about this book that was very melancholy and nostalgic about an era that is long past. I enjoyed the episodic chapters, and A.A. Freda’s character development and his skill with dialogue. The reader is led quickly through the chapters with the feeling that there is something big about to happen…
Another past time of Joey’s is spending endless hours with friends. His wide array of companions find themselves playing games, fighting, and joking around in the clubhouse, and despite their best efforts, evolving as life introduces challenging situations. Joey also spends a lot of his time observing his cousin, “Spike.” Joey and Spike are polar opposites, yet they have a solid friendship. Spike exudes confidence and poise, while Joey struggles to distinguish his own strengths, although the growth throughout the story is observable. The author did an outstanding job of building well rounded characters, as I was able to imagine each of them as I read the story.
Freda’s writing is easy to read, and each chapter holds more excitement for the boys. Despite its title, Rudy Kazoody does not make as many appearances throughout the story as one would imagine. As a reader, I appreciated the curiousness, and am still considering what Rudy symbolized for each character. An unexpected ending truly impressed me, as I did not expect it to end so excitedly. I am very eager to read other books in this series. Excellent read.
This book has a Sandlot-esque feel to it to me, and that’s part of the reason why I loved it so much. The book revolves around the life of Joey , a kid who just moved to America from Italy with his family, and his stories and experiences of growing up in the 1960’s in the Bronx in New York. While the narrative is told from the perspective of Joey and certainly includes most of his life, thoughts, emotions, wants, and needs, the story is really about Anthony, also known around the neighborhood as Spike, Joey’s cousin.
Joey is picked on when he first moves to America and he finds a best friend, and a role model in Spike. Spike is a jack of all trades and his most distinguishing feature is that he’s charismatic. He’s everything Joey isn’t or wants to be. He’s popular, athletic, smart, and good with women
Over the course of the book, Spike goes from being a Golden Glove Boxer to running a gang to a Winery owner for a short time and to being one half of the most treasured couple in the Bronx. I absolutely loved reading all of these stories and the countless other antics Spike, Joey, and the other neighborhood kids get into because it created an immense amount of nostalgia in me about the time I was growing up. This really is a coming of age story worth reading.
I have a few criticisms, however. One is that, for a coming of age story, it has very mature content. Much of the book goes into detail about sex and sexual encounters of the main characters, so beware of that. I also had to get used to the book being written in first person even though the events of the story occurred in the past. It took me a while to get used to, but I got over it. Another reservation I have is that the dream in the beginning of the book, which is made to sound like all the events of the book have to revolve around, is one revisited once for a very brief period.
Despite all of this, you can’t go wrong with picking up the book. One of the reasons I was so hooked on reading it was because I connected very deeply with the characters. The characters weren’t just made up to serve a purpose in the story: all of them had depth. Every character had strong traits and demons that haunted them and reminded me of how the real world actually is. I was so immersed in the world the author created, I forgot I was sitting in my room reading.
The story is told seamlessly even though it jumps around in time quite a bit. It sounds strange, but you never miss a beat with the characters and everything flows logically and well. With all of the comedy and enjoyable moments, there are also a fair share of emotional moments that make the book very memorable. I had a 3 hour car ride today and I spent a lot of it just thinking about what happened in the book. I highly recommend this book because it tells an excellent story of kids growing up and facing the joys, and also harsh realities of life.