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The character Mazie is based on a real woman from a New Yorker essay--part of the collection--Up in The Old Hotel. At first--when I started listening I wanted to find and read the essay--but then I changed my mind. I decided that if the fiction was this dark and gritty the essay about the real bums and troubled people of the Bowery might just be too much to stand.
The narration and set up of the book takes time to understand. Lots of diary entries and dates, different voices and time frames jump around. After a while it makes sense--but it takes about an hour or two of listening before this happened.
Be aware, the summary is misleading. This is not a flapper, roaring 20's, spunky good time story. Instead, the focus is on poverty, gambling, criminals, domestic abuse, infidelity, heavy drinking, drugs, and people who live on the edge or who have just given up on life. This, at times, is balanced out by depictions of families and individuals that care for, help and support others.
Quite the cast of unusual engaging characters troop past on the streets of the Bowery in NYC in the first half of the 1900's. To me, it is difficult listening--a heart breaking, disturbing, and sad story. Recommended only if you are interested in a visit to a completely different world. In the end, I'm glad I listened to this tale of an unlikely "saint".
34 of 37 people found this review helpful
moves slowly but is rich in details of the time period. worthwhile and real.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful