*No Major Spoilers*
Set in a working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side in 1965, “Four Months in Brighton Park” focuses on Kelly Elliott, the kid with two first names. Kelly is a cross between Holden Caulfield and Walter Mitty, rarely facing reality until one day when he is forced to confront the consequences of his actions when he impulsively makes an obscene gesture at Joe Swedarsky, the school jock, and bully. That initial conflict starts a cascade of humorous and affecting dominoes that change his life.
The four-month journey taken by Kelly provides insight, change, humor and empathy, elements of which all people are familiar.
I want to start off by saying that I don’t read “coming-of-age” novels very often. However, those that I enjoy hold a special place in my mental library. Four Month in Brighton Park is an amazing story with dynamic characters and heartwarming and funny adventures.
Kelly Elliot is relatable to me in the fact that he is a victim of bullying. As you’re watching Kelly’s story unfold, you are rooting for him as he grows up and learns to defend himself. David defeats Goliath in the end.
One of my favorite parts of this novel is that Kelly and his friend Jerry sneak in a strip club. The awkwardness of it all is felt through Kelly’s perspective. A bunch of sleazeballs and two high school kids watching various women stripping sounds uncouth on the surface, but every boy has to learn at some point.
I’d recommend this novel for lovers of coming-of-age stories and those who like historical fiction.
Buy Four Months in Brighton Park by Larry Ehrhorn HERE!