JUST KIDS FROM THE BRONX by Arlene Alda

JUST KIDS FROM THE BRONX

Telling It the Way It Was: An Oral History
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Short essays connected by a common thread: a childhood spent in the Bronx.

Through the voices of more than 60 interviewees, Alda (Except the Color Grey, 2011, etc.) presents a kaleidoscope of images from these vignettes of life in the New York borough. The pieces span from the late 1920s to the early 1990s and capture the evolution of a neighborhood. Since the Bronx was originally settled primarily by Jewish, Italian and Irish immigrants, the initial stories are rich with details about life during the Depression and World War II and its aftermath. Then the narrative gradually shifts with the progression of time to personal reflections from newer arrivals comprised of African-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans. These short slices of life offer intimate glimpses into the childhood memories of well-known people such as Colin Powell, Milton Glaser, Abe Rosenthal and Al Pacino. Whether it was the women’s changing room at Loehmann’s department store, riding a bike to Pelham Bay Park or running to an apartment block to fetch someone for a telephone call at the corner store, living in the Bronx made an impression on all of them as they worked their way up the American dream ladder to become productive and prosperous members of society. Amar Ramasar, principal dancer for the New York City Ballet, sums up the essence of these narratives, writing, “Manhattan wasn’t home until recently, when I moved there. It was always associated with work and studying, but the Bronx is different. It was, and I think always will be, home, comfort, love.” Other contributors include Carl Reiner, Regis Philbin, Dava Sobel, Maira Kalman, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bobby Bonilla.

Entertaining and informative cherished memories from a diverse group from the Bronx.

Pub Date: March 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 978-1627790956
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2014




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