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Showing 1-10 of 220 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 298 reviews
on March 29, 2015
I downloaded this e-book from Amazon.com to my Kindle Fire. I did a little research on the Novel. I paid the full price $10.49 so expected a lot. I noticed Dennis Lehane stamped his approval on the Novel. So I thought I would give it a try and was really looking forward to reading it. The e-book was in my queue of e-books to read for a while and I recently got to it. The story started out with a good feel to it. The story started out with a small group of good smart characters and a simple plot to the story. Two young girls set off for some sort of adventure.

The story basically falls off a cliff after the first 50 pages or so. There was no arc to the story. There were no sparks or meaning to the story reflecting in the title. The title is a location or name of a street, thats all. The main character didn't go through the door and change with no turning back. I guess the basic fundamentals of fiction writing were missing for me.

There were introductions of other meaningless characters and details of their lives that totally took away from the story. While reading on, the main story and characters get lost in the meaningless details of other characters introduced. The story just flattened out. I felt like I was a loosing horse at Suffolk Downs race track crawling to the finish line. Trying to finish the race before the next race starts.

I would not recommend this e-book to a friend and I am surprised Dennis Lehane endorses it.
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on October 21, 2015
I wanted to like this book and I gave it a good try (read about 1/3 through) but I realized every time I picked it up I was just not excited with the story line or invested in the characters at all. Honestly, I just found it boring. Some characters (Fadi, Jonathan) were interesting individually, but they all seemed to pretty much stand alone, without much of a connection. I found myself skipping over the elaborate and tedious descriptions just to feel like the story was moving along. It’s rare that I won’t finish a book – I’m stubborn that way – but I realized it was just wasting my time and it was time to move on. Not my favorite book.
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on July 17, 2015
I'm baffled about the numerous awards this novel has accrued. It is the first book in 50 years of reading that I could not finish. I'm even more appalled by the Dennis Lehane imprimatur, as I have read everything he has written and it was the only reason I bought this book. There is minimal plot, the narrative is repetitive and ultimately it is boring. That the Red Hook of this book is downtrodden, depressing and without merit should be covered in the first chapter and get on with the story based on how these conditions affect the characters. Instead, the prose is unremitting in its depiction of the milieu and the angry and depressive denizens at the expense of plot. A girl goes missing at the beginning and after reading 3/4 of the book I will never know what happened to her and unfortunately, I don't care. I suppose this was meant to be a mystery novel to some degree but there is absolutely no suspense to drive the narrative and it bogs down, and for this reader, defeat ensues.
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on January 24, 2014
This novel takes the reader to Red Hook. Practically endless description of the neighborhood and its inhabitants lavish the pages. Which is all well and good, except there was a story buried in there. Two girls go for a ride on a flimsy raft on a hot night. This is a good setup when one comes back and another doesn't. Some people were there to see what happened, others make assumptions. Mild conflict ensues. The problem is, the conflict doesn't build toward anything. It happens and fades away. It happens again and fades away. It never boils over. What little tension there is gets lost. As for the resolution of what actually happened, well, it may be "realistic" but one expects a little more consequence in a novel, especially when the stakes are a young girl's life. Her friend gets away with merely saying, "I don't remember." The cops are perpetually on the sidelines. Other characters dip in and out of the incident, with only one knowing what happened and his motives for not revealing the truth are understandable, yet without much of a payoff for the reader. Simply put, I expected more from a Dennis Lahane backed effort.
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on August 19, 2013
Two friends head off on an excursion on a pink raft down the river-only one returns. Sounds gripping and exciting. The problem is the first few chapters are as good as it gets.

The major problem? Mark Twain had Huckleberry Finn. Ivy Pochoda, for all her exceptional character development and character writing (and her character development is superior), she was unable to give us someone we cared enough about to keep turning the pages. I found nobody to invest myself in, not even the victim really.

I liked many of the supporting characters and many of their back stories. But I guess the problem here is that I never liked the main characters enough to want to keep reading. The author gets caught up in back stories but fails to give us enough to keep us caring about what the mystery is that needs to unfold.

Don't get me wrong. The book is well written, and I project Pochoda will have a great novel someday, one which is filled with great characters and a better outlined concept. This just isn't it for her.
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on April 16, 2014
This was a pleasant surprise - a now somewhat familiar formula of a neighborhood on the way up or down, immigrants assimilating or not, getting along or not -- some flashy writing, but not overdone. A great plot that churned along like the water that played such an important role in the lives and deaths of characters, nicely integrated into the story. Characters were vivid and believably developed (loved the drag queen!), the local drunks and dealers, without being cliches....it's not a Lehane type book. Reminded me of Let The Great World Spin, a bittersweet slice of life, peeking into windows and seeing lives of people you'd ordinarily not meet and would know little about. I look forward to more from this author, and would recommend this book to just about any reader.
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on October 5, 2013
Contains good narrative vignettes and some truly marvelous lines. A clever move to name the transvestite singer Dawn Perignon.

The author devotes whole chapters (two-and-a-half) to the development of single characters, putting the action on hold, rather than working those details into the plot as it progressed. This made me and a number of readers in my book discussion group want to put the book down and not pick it up again. Also, the author doesn't invest herself in her characters and, consequently, they remain paper characters rather than seeming real. This keeps the reader from identifying with and caring about those peopling the plot.

The white police were consistently portrayed as white Neanderthals. Considering the neighborhoods demographics, it should have been common practice to have at least one detective representative of the neighborhood, whom the residents could trust. Instead the police engaged in a head-on, adversarial, racist role, rather than as investigators.

When convenience store owner prowled around in the forbidden zone in an attempt to locate June's remains, his reaction to the ultimate discovery is quite matter of fact. Strongly suspecting the body is in the locker, his hands do not shake and his breath doesn't catch.

No mention of the area's fascinating history of the 1700's appeared in the plot or as a separate page.
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on May 15, 2017
The characters in Visitation Street stay with you long after you've finished reading the book. They're beautifully realized, and best of all, unique. I've not seen characters so original in a long time. The narrative is fast-paced, and there's never any lull in the action. This novel immerses you in its time and place, and as the best books do, makes its very particular world (Red Hook, NY) universal. A rich, compelling, hope-generating story, Visitation Street is a book that just about any reader will enjoy. (I can also see it being required reading on high-school and college syllabuses.)
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on October 14, 2013
I had high hopes for this book. The author looked smart and earnest. She was a professional Squach player. She was writing about her part of the world and trying to memorialize what was good and bad about it. Oh well, I felt that this important story wandered and had undefined chagacters and just drained the will to live out of me. I should have cared about all the characters but did not. I really should have wanted to know about the two girls at the center of the story, but found myself looking at page numbers and calculating how many were left. I was dissapointed.
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on June 1, 2015
Two 15-year-old girls are looking for adventure one night in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. Val persuades June to join her on a pink pool float in New York Bay. Cree, a former boyfriend of Val’s sister, sees the two girls as they launch the flimsy raft, realizes how foolhardy their escapade is, and starts to swim after them. Finding that he will never catch them in the current, he has to turn back. The next morning, Jonathan Sprouse, a music teacher at the girls’ school, finds Val washed up under the pier. She survives, but June and the raft have disappeared. This story is gripping, and not just because we want to find out what happened to June. These denizens of Red Hook, plus Fadi, who owns a bodega and prints a community newsletter, and Ren, a talented graffiti artist who does odd jobs for Fadi, draw us into their bleak and sometimes violent world. Cree’s father Marcus died from a mindless gunshot wound, and Cree’s mother, a nurse who still hears Marcus’s voice in her head, refuses to leave the neighborhood. Jonathan drinks too much and squanders his musical talent, accompanying a drag queen on piano on weekends. He feels an affinity for Val and the guilt that is consuming her. Ren is sort of a shadowy character but seems to have a good heart, instructing his minions to keep tidy the bench where Cree’s father was shot and spiffing up Cree’s father’s boat. His role in the girls’ misadventure is a mystery. Fadi is the eternal optimist, displaying posters offering a reward for information leading to June’s whereabouts, long after everyone else has given up hope. Val is as lost as any teenager would be after losing her best friend, but her role in June’s disappearance makes life unbearable, and she turns to Jonathan for solace. He has ghosts of his own to deal with and is certainly not an appropriate shoulder for Val to lean on anyway. My favorite character might be Dawn/Don, the chanteuse in drag, who packs a mean punch when the situation calls for it, even in 5-inch heels.
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