Friday, October 25, 2013

BB King (of the Bronx)

Billy Bathgate, written by E.L. Doctorow and published in 1989, tells the coming of age story of a teenage boy from a poor neighborhood in the Bronx, who figures out a way into a group of mobsters led by the infamous Dutch Schultz.  Told from Billy's perspective, Doctorow does a brilliant job of capturing a young boy's bravado, vulnerability, ingenuity, desire, and need to belong and be loved.  Having grown up without his father, Billy seeks mentors and father figures, and finds it in the clan-like and familial (as well as brutal and mercurial) Schultz gang. Billy gets in over his head but manages to find a way out.    

Billy Bathgate is one of Doctorow's most acclaimed novels, as it won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was the runner up for the Pulitzer Prize.  

The only other novel I have ready by Doctorow is Homer & Langley, which I also really enjoyed.  Can't wait to read more! 

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