DUTCHING THE BOOK by Ritch Gaiti is a heartbreaking, humorous look at being young and yearning in Brooklyn. It is also a story about striving, about the short-lived high of winning and the agonizing low of losing, of being in debt and lying to loved ones.
The main character is as much Brooklyn as it is Ben, a character who, for a brief moment, developed a scheme for beating the system by dutching the book at Jamaica Racetrack and the plot arcs back and forth between the racetrack of the 1930s and the firehouse 1960s.
At the story’s heart is the striving of Ben Collesano, a character always reaching for the edge and playing it, whether he’s betting the horses or fighting fires. He grows up in Cony Island, cares for his dying Jewish mother, respects his Italian father and stepmother, and is always, ALWAYS assessing the odds. He surrounds himself with his friends, courts and weds the love of his life, and rolls with the punches.
The book is rich in young love, friendship and loyalty, Brooklyn neighborhoods and characters. Two of my favorites are Kitty and Ben’s friend, the Bull. Gaiti’s introduction of Kitty is a masterful piece of writing as are the author’s descriptions of horse racing and firefighting. His ode to Kitty begins, “Kitty Urbanski looked at her reflection in Chadosh’s dirty window and made sure that everything sat just right ….”
Rich Gaiti’s prose shines. Reading it, I could smell again the salt sea air of Brooklyn’s docks and fishing wharves, reach out and touch all the Brooklyn types strolling down Atlantic Avenue or Court Street, Surf Avenue or Ocean Parkway.
I just loved this book and recommend it to all adults for a fascinating read.
My Rating: 5-Stars
About the Author
Ritch Gaiti, author, artist, and an alumnus of Wall Street, has written novels, screenplays and many magazine articles and has been featured on national radio and TV, including an appearance on the Today Show. Ritch focuses on telling compelling stories and writes in several genres from humor to drama, both non-fiction and fiction. DUTCHING THE BOOK is his first venture into quasi-fiction and is a tribute to the people who really lived it.
DUTCHING THE BOOK