THE BOOKIE’S SON
By Andrew Goldstein
DEBUT COMING-OF-AGE NOVEL
ABOUT GROWING UP JEWISH IN THE BRONX
DURING THE SIXTIES
Inspired by the Author’s Own Childhood
“Powerful debut.”—Publishers Weekly
A poignant coming-of-age debut novel, THE BOOKIE’S SON (SixOneSeven Books; May 2012; Trade Paperback; $14.00), draws on the author’s own childhood growing up in the Bronx during the Sixties.
It is told through the eyes of twelve-year-old Ricky Davis, who tries to rescue his parents from themselves—and from the ravages his father’s gambling habit threatens to wreak on his family.
Goldstein evokes what life was like in the Sixties for struggling Jewish families living in crowded and cluttered Bronx tenements where privacy is a foreign word, neighborhood thugs and gangsters rule the streets, and nosy neighbors spend their days looking out their windows minding everyone’s business while kids play stickball in the alleys.
A cautionary tale, THE BOOKIE’S SON describes what happens to one lower-middle class family when the father’s side—and defining—job is that of a bookie. Ricky is caught in the middle of his parents’ constant conflicts as he tries at once to please both parents.
His mother Pearl is a disappointed, fading beauty who escapes the ennui of her life through a glamorous but low-paying job reading movie scripts and mingling with movie stars.
His father Harry’s dead-end job as a cutter in the garment industry casts him as a loser in his mother’s eyes. His dreams of striking it rich as a bookie result in a nightmare that threatens to destroy him and his family.
Add to the mix, Ricky’s grandmother, who has no use for her son-in-law whom she constantly berates to her grandson—and anyone within ear shot—while lamenting her daughter’s plight: “She works so hard and the bum loses her money.”
When Ricky’s father, who ends up working for as a henchman for a ruthless loan shark to pay off his insurmountable gambling debts, crosses gangster Nathan Glucksman, he is forced into hiding. Ricky has to take over his father’s bookie business and figure out a way to pay back his debt—before the gangsters make good on their threats.
Meanwhile, Ricky’s mother plots to raise the money by embezzling funds from one of her boss’s clients: Elizabeth Taylor. Fast-paced, engrossing and full of heart, THE BOOKIE’S SON paints a picture of a family forced to decide just how much they’re willing to sacrifice for each other—and at what cost.
About Andrew Goldstein
Andrew Goldstein has been a writer, editor, assistant librarian, Zamboni driver, school bus driver, stock broker, tennis pro, tree planter, and organic farmer. He is a custom builder and partner at Thoughtforms, which was the National Custom Builder of the Year in 2003. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife. He has two grown children. THE BOOKIE’S SON is his first novel.
About Susan Schwartzman Public Relations
Book publicist Susan Schwartzman specializes in book publicity campaigns for authors and publishers. For more information, contact her at Susan Schwartzman Public Relations.