Trying To Be Cool – Growing Up In The 1950’s by Leo Braudy

tryingPaperback: 272 pages

Publisher: Asahina & Wallace (October 21, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1940412048

ISBN-13: 978-1940412047

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A Poetic Review by: Rodger Lowenthal 
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A response
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A story of one of hundreds of corner “hangouts” (or to be more genteel,gathering places), that could be transposed to any large Eastern city.
The author grows, the corner decreases in importance.
The ultimate focus is on the mysteries and struggles of teenagehood.
   about what comes easy and what does not
   of finding comfort zones and fitting in
   about the sociological importance of the 1950’s cultural changes
Braudy casts a wide net
   consider survival and growth, neatly tied together
   the musical conventions changed by rock and roll
   his early interest in film
   the clearly yoked dependency of memory and imagination
   recall and reframing
   as his “true story” unfolds  the reader is treated to
   a strong sensitive intelligence
There are Sunday afternoons of coffee shop folk music
   the father son relationship
   more rock and roll history
   styles of “cool” friends   masturbation
   the growing importance of girls
   unexpected sidetracks
Braudy has an agreeable expansive style
   and a keen ear, comfortable with
   both patois and poetry
What about cool? then and now? Then reticent
and understated   now thriving ostentation
For me easy to compare and contrast my 1950’s years
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A note:
One gripe: Why do small presses lack proofreaders? Sadly this book had at least a dozen unnecessary words repeated or vowels omitted.
Leo, my friend, the publisher owes you an apology.
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rodger-lowenthal-4Rodger Lowenthal is a poet from Eastern Montgomery County Pennsylvania who is known to frequent Ryerss Museum and Library  in Fox Chase. He is a regular contributor of book reviews to FCR and an occasional host at the reading series. He also hosts “Under the Stars”, a poetry and musical quarterly event. His poetic reviews of books have appeared on line in various literary blogs. He is known to pick up pieces of cigars and Hollywood whenever he can.
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