Steve Katz Florry of Washington Heights

ISBN 13: 9781852421410

Florry of Washington Heights

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9781852421410: Florry of Washington Heights

William Swanson, a lawyer, looks back on his childhood and the problems that developed when one of his friends began dating Florry O'Neill, the former girlfriend of the warlord of the Fanwoods, a rival gang

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From Publishers Weekly:

A nostalgic, precisely depicted throwback to a kind of old-fashioned autobiographical novel, this urban saga by the author of Wier & Pouce is set in the mid-Depression years and enacted by its adolescent characters in the old neighborhood of Washington Heights, within view of the great bridge. Fred Sugarman, star shortstop of the Bullets A & S, loves Florry O'Neill, and she, formerly the "steady girl" of vicious Jack Ryan, warlord of the Fanwoods, loves him. Trouble looms large: for each the other is forbidden fruit. Of the war zone's distinct ethnic groups Irish, Jewish, Italianthings do not go happily for the first two, either in sports or in affairs of the heart. The narrator, William Swanson, son of a Jewish mother and Irish father, a tinker by trade, a gypsy by blood, a poet by calling, is a member of the Bullets. But he is no warrior; he is a navigator of the universal rites of passage, recalling in exhaustive detail how things were when childhood ended. Sex clamors in the blood; baseball tests manhood; the boys hang out at the corner store, talking big and dirty. Their interior life is scarcely delineated and while the visible life is reported with high fidelity, there is always the nagging sense that we have been here before, on countless sentimental journeys through those dangerous streets. Katz, however, knows every pavement and every face in the windows of his old haunts.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

YA The Bullets play baseball and basketball and try to avoid rumbles with gangs made up of more stereotypical and macho stuff. Set in upper Manhattan around the time of the Korean War, this novel breaks the mold for inner city street gangs. The Bullets wear gang jackets, but they are a thinking man's gangeveryone has good grades and ambitions. When one of their own becomes romantically involved with Florry, whose brother belongs to one of the tougher gangs, the Fanwoods, the Bullets are threatened almost to the point of extinction. What happens to Florry and to the Bullets is well told by Swanny, a half-Jewish, half-Irish teen who grows up to be a lawyer. Looking back, he serves up some of the nostalgia of the era and placeegg creams from Zooky's candy store, the last marble session of his childhood, and his first dance with a girl of his dreams. The intense fears, passions, loyalties, and the most despicable sides of human nature are revealed. The incredible life or death tenseness between the two gangs is constant throughout the book. The final resolution and ensuing lightness at the story's closing will bring relieved sighs from readers rooting for the Bullets. Keddy Outlaw, Harris County Public Library, Houston
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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