Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody by A.A. Freda

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Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody

Author: A.A. Freda
Genre: Fiction
Format: Hardcover/E-book
Publisher: FriesenPress
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Pages: 317

Author Website|Book Depository|Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: Who is the mysterious Rudy Kazoody, and what, if anything, did he have to do with the events that occurred to a group of teenagers during one fateful summer in New York City’s Bronx neighborhood in the early 1960s?

Growing up is difficult enough. But when you’re a recent immigrant arriving in a country that is going through its own coming-of-age process, fueled by rock ‘n’ roll, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, free love, the pill, LSD, and the Cold War, it’s downright confusing, and for some—lethal.

With the various upheavals shaking America to its core, Joey, whose family emigrated to the Bronx from Italy’s Apennine Mountains, struggles to retain his innocent, optimistic outlook on life as he and the other young teenagers on Arthur Avenue—virtually all of whom also come from immigrant, working-class families—try to find their place in this new order.

From the euphoria of first love to the despair of dashed dreams and betrayal, Joey emerges from the summer sadder but wiser in this romantic, mysterious, and nostalgic tale. Behind it all lurks the mysterious Rudy Kazoody, an enigma that Joey feels he must solve or else remain forever just outside the inner circle of life and love.

Jen’s Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 1/2

REVIEW: Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody is as described. A teenage boy living life in the Bronx during the 1960’s. He goes through several moments of joy, moments that cause some anguish as well as the ones that make him feel out of place. It’s about his trials and life with friends he’s made along the way. You feel like you might be in that time, many of these issues are faced through every generation of a teen’s life. Some more wounding than others.

“Oh, mom, stop acting so innocent! Don’t tell me you don’t know the kids are always picking on Joey! Can’t you see that Joey and I have no friends? We haven’t had any friends since we left Italy. Why do you think we sit here every night watching television? Don’t you ever wonder why none of the other children call or visit? You act like it’s a big surprise. We’ve been here for years and never had company! Haven’t you ever wondered why?”

With that they move, hoping for a new beginning. A fresh start from all the craziness that they have had to endure so far. And so begins the maelstrom of Joey’s life. Friends that become the closest thing to him, but at the same time creating issues within his own psyche. Love he wishes he had, but settling for what he can take. Trying to fit in and take control, just to find out he isn’t in command of anything.

“Suddenly, he slaps me in the back of the head, puts his leg behind mine, and heaves me to the ground. I try to jump up to retaliate, but he stomps on my back with his right foot. That last stomp makes me furious, and I start to get up to hit back. I’m halfway up when he hits me with an uppercut just below my chest. I fall back to the ground on my knees, and my head slumps over between my legs.” 

This is not just about Joey’s story, but that of every teenager in this book. The ones he befriends, those he is fascinated by, the ones that need to be wanted just as much as Joey. This is about life and tragedies, about misfits and the unknown. You find it all in here. The discovery of how things can have an abrupt end and wishing the clock could be turned back. About growing up in uncertain territories and finding a home.

I may not read this novel again, but only because it isn’t one of those reads that I gravitate towards. Even so I found it more appealing and enjoyable than I thought I would. I am thankful to the author for allowing me to read this book and find my own place within its pages. I might not have read it otherwise and would have missed out on character’s like Joey, and the feisty wits of Betty, the gang with their own quarky nicknames Twitchy, Crabby, Reject. And many others that make Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody (Rootie Kazootie) what it is.

***I received this copy from the author, A.A. Freda, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***

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