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The Queens of Montague Street by [Rommelmann, Nancy]
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The Queens of Montague Street Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 25 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Named a Top Ten of 2012 by Longreads.com. who encapsulated the essay, "Memories of life as a truant teen in 1970s Brooklyn" and cited the following graph: 

"Most of the time we just hung out, in front of the newly opened Baskin-Robbins, on the corner of Montague and Henry Streets. This corner was the epicenter of Brooklyn Heights, a community unaccustomed to seeing its daughters straddling mailboxes and flicking cigarette butts into the street. Nor were we used to fielding the looks we began to get: wary, unhappy, every father coming home from Wall Street and every mother on her way to Key Food shooting us stern, silent reprimands. It made me squirm, but it also pissed me off: What was I doing that was so horrible? And if they had something to say, why didn't they say it? While our little petri dish of a neighborhood evidently considered hanging out anathema, I was on the fence; my dad had grown up in Greenwich Village, an Italian kid playing stickball and rolling tires in the Hudson River. Isn't this what teenagers did?"

About the Author

Nancy Rommelmann is a journalist whose work appears in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Magazine, the LA Weekly and other publications. She is the author of the novel The Bad Mother, the story collection Transportation, and the ebook Destination Gacy, about a cross-country trip to meet with an interview serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Read more at Nancyromm.com. Follow in Twitter, @nancyromm.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2365 KB
  • Print Length: 25 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: January 2, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006SPQFLE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #992,499 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Schultz on September 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
"The Queens of Montague Street" is a vivid read and it goes by all too fast. My one real complaint is that I wished it had been longer. Rommelmann is by trade and by temperament a journalist - many of her excellent non-fiction pieces are available on her website - and her she turns her detail-oriented and honest-if-it-kills-her eye to her own story. It's memoir as journalism.

Everyone has a story to tell about themselves, and it all comes down to how one goes about telling it. Rommelmann shows herself as she thought she was at the time, and as she sees herself now. She was a child of privilege who takes her teenage rebellion to the "mean streets," not realizing at the time how much of a tourist she was. She entered domains that seemed fraught with adventure, but understands now that she was experiencing things differently from those who had no choice to inhabit the lives they were living. At the end of things, a simple phone call puts her back into her old life - like Dorothy clicking her red shoes, or Lucy returning back through the Wardrobe.

One of the other reviewers criticized the work for being about a rich kid who saw "the lives of others that were very different" and felt like she was "a part of it." It's an odd criticism because this is the whole point of the piece. The self-dramatization of an adolescent and the remorseless judgement of the adult she has become. The piece is being criticized for accomplishing exactly what it set out to accomplish.

The immediacy of many of the moments is exciting, and the recall of detail so many years later is enviable, allowing you to feel you are as much in the moment as possible. This short piece is highly recommended.
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Nancy Rommelmann brings out the flavor of Brooklyn Heights in a down-to-earth, heartfelt snapshot of what it was like to grow up during a very special place and time. While it is not by any means a "flowers-and-hearts" look at life, it is very real, very compelling, and, at times, brutal in its honesty. Nancy shows a teenager's perspective of life while using very adult matter-of-factness and language. Anyone who has been honest in their teenage rebellion will relate.
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This story is so compelling because it really captures a place and time, and it's a very interesting place and time - Brooklyn, NY in the 1970s. The characters are great, really well drawn personas that jump off the page in three dimensions, and embody the elements of that moment in history - the ethnicities, egos, ethos, and environment that ripple with texture and depth. You can feel the struggle and striving of the characters at a critical juncture in their life, with the era's issues - socio-economic, racial, moral, and individual. The characters are both larger than life and highly relatable, stereotypes and completely recognizable, and always intriguing. And finally, the story is just plain funny and dramatic, full of heart and a pleasure to read because it is simply and finely written. Bravo Ms. Rommelmann!
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As a resident of Brooklyn Heights I was drawn to the story to see my neighborhood through her eyes of 40 years ago.

I saw very little as it was more of a New Yorker length piece than a full memoir but I very much enjoyed what she wrote.
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Holy smokes (stokes?) Nancy, I haven't thought about these characters in many a year (I won't say how many), and you brought them all rushing back, in living color, and as raw as can be. You captured that time and place in a most perfect way; many thanks. Can't wait to read some of your other work.

-Vernard
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I was born in 1977, and could only imagine what growing up in New York was like for kids of that era. With this work, my imagination has so much more to work with, as Rommelmann makes it all too real. Fear of and enchantment with sketchy characters, the folly of youth, the tension between father and daughter that you fear might be insurmountable - all illuminated here in a searingly honest account of life as it was never planned to be. I have read this multiple times and enjoy it still. Comfort reading at its most digestible.
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