My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While not un-put-downable, I still found this book thoroughly enjoying. I loved the point of view of the old Russian grandfather telling his story of stories to his thoroughly modern American grandson. As the tale really digs in, the interplay between the young, crude teenager boys (or one a teenager and one a twenty something full of braggadocio) was very honest and made them really likable; you enjoy these boys' company and want to see them succeed. There are several crescendos here (the cymbals crash several times), it's the final crescendo that is both poignant and pointed. The ending comes as no surprise, but was nice without being syrupy. I almost wanted this book to be more and do more than it actually did; but quite frankly, it was entertaining, at times thrillingly so, and mostly believable and that was enough.
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