Mini Book Review: Billy Bathgate

Well, I finished the first book from my reading challenge list and it was Billy Bathgate, by E L Doctorow. This is the story of Billy who is a teenager in pre-WWII New York (never could ascertain the exact year) and finds himself immersed in the gangster culture. It’s told from his point of view and it offers some fascinating observations of the characters around him.

To be honest, it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. The prose was written in a style that I’m not entirely comfortable with, and the dialogue gets kind of mixed in and I guess you’d have to read it to understand exactly what I’m talking about. But the descriptions are amazing and the plot is compelling, even if at a certain point you know how this story has to end. But you read and enjoy the story anyway.

Even though it’s not anywhere near my top list, I can respect it for being a great work of fiction. If fiction based during this time frame is your cup of tea, this is an excellent sample of the breed.

The next book on my list is Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. It is also for my neighborhood bookclub. I think I will make it the next Virtual Book Club. No, really! I actually intend on having one soon! It’s just been such a crazy summer. I’m thinking of August 29? Give everyone plenty of time to read this? What do you think?


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