Who the heck is Rudy Kazoody?!
We might never know, the world might never know, and you know what…, that´s alright, ´cause in the end, like Spike -one of, if not the main character of the book- points out it doesn´t really matter-, what really matters here is the journey and the things that the things that you learn through it.
Second in my July to read list -but actually, the third book I read- Goodbye Rudy Kazoody is the first novel written by A.A. Freda, who much like the characters in this novel, grew up as an immigrant in the United States. And that is noticeable, ´cause all of his characters, stories, behaviors, etc., feel very real and lived in.
I had the opportunity to read this novel once again thanks to @Readers_tweets, who put me into contact with the author so I could get a digital copy of this book and read it, and guess what? I actually fell in love with it.
There´s something about this book that is just so charming and funny while also being kind of harsh and cruel, kind of like life I guess.
Life doesn´t hold back any punches and neither does the author, with his words Freda illustrates life as it is, the good and the bad, the beauty and nasty things, the sweetness and the bitterness; all of that wrapped in a story that is funny, and sad, tragic and at the same time hopeful, ´cause essentially Goodbye Rudy Kazoody is a coming of age story, yes; but the background information of how or why immigrants arrived in the States and how political situations and urbanization actually affected so many people, that, that kind of gives it something extra.
The book is narrated by Joey and young Italian that moved -along with his family- to the U.S. because of the difficult economic situation in his country after the second great war, through Joey´s eyes is that we learn about the life of immigrants in the States -particularly the Bronx-, and it´s also through him that we take a pick into the life of his cousin Spike, a young man who seems to have a charmed life and everything figured, except he doesn´t, ´cause even though everyone seems to treat him as a full-fledged adult truth is… that he´s also just a kid.
Anyhow, while I never found out who the heck was Rudy Kazoody, and what was the big secret around him, I never -even for a moment- felt dissatisfied with the story, since the narration style was quite captivating and the characters very real.
This book kind of remind me of old movies that I used -and still love-, like The Sandlot and Stand by Me, but if I´m honest with myself what I liked the most about this novel was exploring the Italian culture, especially from the immigrants perspective, read about them fighting to belong but at the same time conserving their traditions and identity, I think is something plenty of people can sympathise with.
I also liked the exploration of life in the Bronx back then, right after World War II, and how some people were perceived, overall I considered this a great read, and a satisfying one.
I really think this is a book that everyone should read, especially nowadays, but if you are still unsure about let me ask you, do you like coming of age story? books with a social commentary underline? period pieces that reflect real life for people back in the past? stories that surprise you with page turners? that are funny? that make you think and reflect? that teach you things you might have known? well if that´s you I can almost warranty that you will like this book as much as I did.