LOOKING FOR BABY PARADISE by John Speicher

LOOKING FOR BABY PARADISE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Charlie Kremmel is a Youth Board worker assigned to ""mediate the gripes"" of the Puerto Rican kids in New York's rough Washington Heights section. Called ""Blind Man"" for the shades and cane he sports as a concession to the boys' passion for grandiose style, he is a maximum leader, with maximum freedom, in an area of maximum pressure--from the cops, the Church, the social workers, the newspapers, the community, from a radical exploitative organization called SCAR (Spanish Committee Against Racism) and from his own anxieties. Kremmel begins to lose some of his power when he decides to turn Hernando (Baby) Paradise over to the cops. He makes several bad moves to demonstrate his ""power around the turf"" and finally a megalomaniacal decision that leads to the deaths of many in a Harlem riot... John Speicher unfortunately allows his sense of style to come between himself and the reader. The book is overridden with details about king size filters and roachy Cantonese restaurants. We understand less of the Blind Man's motivation than the Blind Man. Perhaps what is lacking is a sane, objective voice to get beyond the unrevealing talk of the Teenie-Boppers and the hang-ups of Kremmel. While there are some very astute sociological, observations, the novel sometimes reads like Jimmy Breslin.

Pub Date: April 5th, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World