I bow down. I fucking bow down.
This book, so unpolished and raw has more lifeblood flowing through it than many people do.
Set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the earliest years of the 21st century, this episodic first person narrative feels much as if we are reading the diary of the teenage girl protagonist. The story revolves around her dysfunctional family; the girl and her heavily pregnant mother arriving from England in the late 90s, where they had seen better days. It documents their hopes and fears and soaks in the small glories and giant tragedies of poverty’s tightrope faced with courage, humor, understanding and compassion for others.
There is true humanity here, set like a jewel in the brutal and uncaring context of the city, with its concrete, filth and civic apathy. Their struggles are keenly observed without excessive sentiment, giving it a telling ring of truth.
The filmic narration engages all your physical senses and a full range of emotions. You will experience so many of the incidents vividly along with the characters.
This book is a testament to that family, to their courage, their frailty and their unassuming, unacknowledged genius. Their grace.
Please read this book. It maybe the best book you read this year. It may even be a book that should be required reading for everyone, so that they can get a fucking clue.