Thursday, November 17, 2011

Brooklyn Burning by Steve Brezenoff YP FIC BREZENOF

Kid loved a junkie named Felix until he disappeared and left Kid with nothing more than pain and the questions of who started the fire.  Scout comes along and gives Kid a shot at reclaiming the life, love, and music Kid that had disappeared forever.

This is a true original.  Kid is our narrator and he always talks directly to ‘you’.  However, in this case ‘you’ isn’t an imaginary, unnamed audience.  ‘You’ is Scout.  We learn all about Scout through Kid’s eyes and eventually more about Kid.  This is not only a way to keep the reader wondering about who the characters are, but also allows for the story to be very ambiguous in a wonderful and surprising way. We NEVER find out the gender of Kid or Scout.  The book never reveals if Kid is male or female or Scout is male or female, so this story is universal.  No matter gender or orientation, you can see yourself as a reader in Kid, Scout, or both.  This doesn’t just feel like a gimmick, because the story is all about identity, love, loss, and how easy all three get mixed up together.  Kid feels like Felix took away love, music, and Kid’s identity.  They are all rediscovered in Scout.  I liked Brezenoff’s previous book The AbsoluteValue of -1 or l-1l for short, but found it sometimes lacked focus with the multiple narrators, but Brooklyn Burning is a perfect and original use of the single narrator.  This book is honest, gritty, and raw.  It would be good for fans of edgier contemporary fiction.

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