The focal character of Dodgers struck me as much like the character "Strike" from Richard Price's novel Clockers. Both of the characters are pretty formless. They have gang jobs, it's a rough business, but neither seem to have any other life and as such they're just ciphers for the reader to climb into the novel. That means, in order for the book to be interesting the writer has to make the other characters and events interesting. Although Dodgers is well-reviewed and received awards, there's nothing in the novel I will carry with me. There's good writing, it carried my interest to the end, but it's 3-star fare. You'll finish it, step off it's abrupt ending, and then need to find your next read. You won't even realize you never thought about this book again.
It was a little different and that made it a good story. I'd grab a Beverly book again. I was entertained with a good story.
Dodgers starts out really good. It builds up nicely too but the climax of the novel was very abrupt for my liking. I thought as an initial novel, Bill Beverly did a good job. Each page was full of similes and descriptions but it wasn't perfect. Dodgers felt like a Steinbeck-esqe meets HBO's The Wire but with less action combined with Road Trip with just seriousness and no comedy. The ending was cheesy to me. Dodgers was like the Conservative White Guy version of Street "Urban" Writing you'd see someone read on the bus or subway.
Vivid & real. Tense. Solid. Haunting.
B. Beverly has written well reviewed non-fiction about gangs and crime in the US. His first novel Dodgers is in this setting. Leaving LA area, and encountering white people for the first time, good to have a talking point, and since the bosses knew all white people like the Dodgers, wearing Dodger T-shirts is a good way to travel. Well written, good character development. Similar to the journey during WWII times novels, but these are our times. Good guys and bad guys blur.
Dark, sad, and violent, with beautiful sentences and a core of sadness for the protagonist, his city, family, and America. A teenager works for a drug lord, gets involved in a plot to kill a witness and has to decide who he is. Beverly touches on many themes in this modern coming of age novel, including violence, drug abuse, loss of industry in the US and its effects, racism, family ties and more. A slim novel that packs an emotional wallop.
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