September 6, 2010

Harlem Summer by Walter Dean Myers

Summary: Mark Purvis is a sax player looking for a way to make an easy buck. Instead of working at his Uncle's funeral parlor, he gets a job at The Crisis, a newsletter working with associates of W.E.B. Dubois. He gets involved with Fats Waller, a gifted Jazz and Classical piano player, and Dutch Schultz, a notorious mobster. When the mobster's stash of alcohol goes missing, it's up to Mark to recover it, even if it means his life?

Likes: I loved the music aspect. I connected to that most of all. The main character plays the saxophone and I do as well. He plays Jazz in the heyday of the Jazz Era and I loved being in Jazz Ensemble. I could connect to the character in that regard and I loved Mark's character. The story, while short, had a lot of twists and turns that I wasn't expecting. There were red herrings that let me think that the story was going in a different  It was a simple coming of age

Dislikes: It was a little too short in my opinion. It still packs a punch, but there seemed to be so much that the author could have explored. It felt it was cut off at a part where things were just starting to get even more interesting. There was a literal deus ex machina at the end, but things didn't work out the way I thought they would have so it may have negated that literary device.

Overall: I really enjoyed the history and the real life characters that were mentioned in the novel. It didn't feel too inauthentic or like the author that was dropping names or anything. It felt like that at first, but it was a little less clunky later on in the book. Once you learn who these famous people are, it makes the story more authentic.) The story ended a little strange, but overall it was a fun and quick read.

Recommended by: Ari from Reading in Color. 

Acquired: Library


Emidy (Une Parole) said...

What a cool book! I don't read a lot about music, but I'm sure there are many good books out there on that subject. This sounds like one of them! Lovely review.

Najela said...

Thanks. I did like the music aspect and I really would like to read more about band geeks, being a former band geek myself.


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