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I Still Love Joni James



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I Still Love Joni James by Jack Bilello
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Chris, the protagonist, is a successful, middle-aged businessman who lives in an upscale Long Island suburban community. The novel begins in the present, in a chapel where friends and family have gathered to pay their last respects to Chris' father, Joe. Joe's dying regret is that he didn't do more for his son. Chris' internal conflict is that he believes his father's life to have been a failure - he raised his family in a coldwater flat, never earned more than a small wage, and did not have the means to buy expensive gifts... Chris feels guilty for not being more of a comfort for his elderly father. His preoccupation with chasing the dollar, searching for material success, led him to distance himself from his relationship with Joe and much of his family. At the funeral, a childhood friend of Chris' arrives leaving Chris to wonder what happened to the rest of his old gang. In the process of dealing with his father's death, Chris goes to clean out his father's apartment and finds a stash of old newspapers, obsolete 45 rpm recordings, old photographs, etc. He thinks - Is this it? Is this my inheritance? Big deal! Junk! He takes these "treasures" home with him and browses through this dustbin of his personal history, triggering a memory flash which takes him back to the summer of 1954. Chris goes back in time to the old Italian neighborhood in East New York, Brooklyn, where he grew up. The novel vividly portrays the strong values of a working class Italian American family and the interaction of family and friends. We meet his parents, Rosie and Joe, his grandparents, Jennie and Peppino, and an assortment of oddball and goofy, neighborhood characters, and a gaggle of relatives that willmake you laugh and cry. It's Brooklyn, of course, and what's Brooklyn without the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field, and sandlot baseball. We get woozy on the Cyclone ride at Coney Island and "doozy" at the confraternity at Our Lady of Loreto RC Church, dodging
Release date Australia
April 1st, 2004
Country of Publication
United States
Xlibris Corporation
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