This book review was published on Reedsy/Discovery.
This coming-of-age story surpassed my expectations. Written in the first person, I was immediately drawn into the escapades of a 17-year-old boy, Eddie Strull. It was as if I were reading a memoir, not a novel. When the story begins, Eddie has already planned his escape from New York via a supervised teen trip to Europe before venturing out on his own in Paris. The author weaves in real-life historic events, landmarks and tourist destinations. The book underscores the inevitability that we pay dues for the consequences of our actions. How we reconcile that reveals who we are.
“It’s not for me to forgive you Eddie. You have to forgive yourself.”
Early on, we learn about Eddie’s frustration with the hebetude of his life and his longing to be a writer. We know his plan. But we cannot anticipate the events that unfold as he befriends unique characters, falls in love, takes risks and perseveres on his mission. He makes decisions out of desperation and fear, ultimately making him a fugitive of the law. As he tenaciously and fortuitously continues to escape danger, the pages of this book turn swiftly. As Eddie stumbled from one multifarious situation to another, I wanted to catch him before he fell.
The ending threw me for a loop. I never saw it coming. It’s not the ending I was hoping for, and I am left with unanswered questions. I didn’t want to let Eddie go just yet, which is what makes the author’s style so appealing. The book is well-edited and a great read for all fans of coming-of-age novels. I think the story is particularly relatable to people familiar with a New York/Jewish background in the 50s and 60s who fantasized about or lived through the youthful backpack-through-Europe experience. This story takes you on that expedition albeit with many twists and turns.