This is a memoir that I picked up on sale at Barnes and Noble. I let the book sit for quite a while before I finally opened it up, and then when I did open it, I had trouble putting it down. If you look it up on Amazon, you will see it gets some pretty good reviews. I just bought it on a whim though, and had no clue how good a read it would be.
A story about a man who grows up without knowing his dad, a single mom having trouble making ends meet, abusive family members, and not a great start in life. Then Uncle Charlie is asked to help out, and takes him to the beach with his drinking buddies. The highlights of a young boy's life, learning from these men, and idolizing the bar. Only after graduating from Yale, and having a long period of not really advancing his career, does he realize the strongest man of all is his mom. She is the picture of endurance, of ever lasting love, of working even when you're tired and never giving up. It's not the guys in the bar. It's the mother, the grandmother, and those quiet ones you never paid much attention to. Like Joey D., talking to his mouse.
The epilogue was nice too. I've been a bit overwhelmed at times concerning things regarding 9-11, but his tie-in was well done, and relevant. While he was only one of a few fatherless boys growing up, there is now a whole lot of them in certain neighborhoods in New Jersey and New York thanks to the tragedy that day. Sad, but true, and hopefully the widows and community have come together to help raise those kids as a village should, could, and can.
I'm taking a writing class now, and my last class we talked about "specifics". This story did a great job of the specifics. I could see the bar in my mind, picture the main road with the bar on one end and the church on the other. I saw the duct-taped furniture of grandpa's house, and I could picture Gilgo beach although I've never been there. A great read! I definitely recommend it. It's not a new book, published around 2005 or 2006, but look it up if you like memoirs.