Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody


Fiction - Urban
317 Pages
Reviewed on 10/13/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody by A.A. Freda is powerful, lyrical, and heartwarming — but the story will break the reader’s heart more than once. Set against the backdrop of a revolutionary New York Bronx neighborhood, this mystery narrates the life of Joey, an emigrant from an Italian city, his quest for love, and his journey to solve the mystery of Rudy Kazoody, a man who might be connected to the tragic fate of a group of teenagers in the early '60s. The mystery of Rudy Kazoody will haunt the young man, become an obsession, and make him feel that he must solve it to become complete. But can he? Can he find out who this mysterious man is?

There is a lot going on in Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody and there is a lot of entertainment for those who love coming-of-age stories and mysteries. The language is wonderful, and the first person narrative is so skillfully executed that it draws readers into the story. The author combines different genres into one story that is fast-paced and utterly intriguing. The characters are carefully sculpted, reflective of the history and culture of the time. Readers will love to watch Joey, the protagonist, as he evolves from a timid young man without the courage to talk to women into a self-confident man taking control and seeking answers. I enjoyed the entertaining and plot-driven dialogues, able to bring powerful images to the minds of readers, and as I read some of them, I got clear ideas of what the characters look and feel like. A.A. Freda is, no doubt, a great narrator, and an accomplished entertainer.

Christian Sia

Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody by A.A. Freda can be read as a coming-of-age novel featuring a love story or an urban mystery, a story that explores the part played by the mysterious Rudy Kazoody in the sorry fate of a group of teenagers back in the early 1960s. But who is Rudy Kazoody? Just like the protagonist, readers will love to find out who this man is. Joey is an immigrant from Italy, trying to grow up with his family in the Bronx neighbourhood of New York City. Readers will read with exhilaration as the young man seeks to come to terms with the new environment and the rapidly evolving culture of the '60s. He falls in love, gets hurt and betrayed, and grows up, filled with the burning desire to solve the Rudy Kazoody mystery.

A.A. Freda’s Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody is a beautiful story that is beautifully told. The prose is powerful and the narrative voice is so clear and compelling its hard to put the story down. From the very beginning where the author describes a dramatic incident at sea, the story moves pretty fast. Readers will love the characters, which are compelling and well-developed. The sense of mystery developed around Rudy Kazoody will create a gnawing suspense in the minds of readers and make them read on. A fascinating story.

Raanan Geberer

Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody by A.A. Freda is a novel about the adventures of Joey, an Italian immigrant in his early teens who lives with his family in the Arthur Avenue area of the Bronx (the same area that gave us Dion and the Belmonts). His world, and that of his friend, centers on his cousin Anthony, or Spike — an athlete, boxer, gang leader (although the gang is largely non-violent), and ladies’ man. Spike’s constant companion is Betty, a neighborhood teen whom he thinks of as “one of the guys,” but Joey has a secret crush on Betty. The book is basically a compilation of semi-humorous stories about the gang and the family, although there are some more serious issues involved — Spike’s father runs away with a girlfriend to California, and Spike has to help support the family with after-school jobs. The book also ends in tragedy, although you’ll have to find out for yourself how that happens.

Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody is a good example of a nostalgic collection of stories with some interesting touches. Occasionally, you get a glimpse of the family’s former life in southern Italy. Spike is a complex, three-dimensional character and although he’s a tough guy by necessity, he also hates the mob because he thinks they give Italians a bad name. He does favors for the old men in the neighborhood out of kindness, and he wants to go to law school to be able to help people. Since the book focuses on the kids and their world, you don’t get much of what’s happening in the wider arena. A mention of President Kennedy is one of the few clues that it takes place in the early ‘60s. All in all, Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody is a great read for people who grew up in the Bronx, Italian-Americans, and people who want to relive their adolescence in general.

Joel R. Dennstedt

What makes Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody by A.A. Freda such a refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable read is the authentic and immediately engaging voice of its main character and narrator, Joey, a teenage Italian immigrant boy newly arrived in New York City. Joey comes of age during the transformative, rebellious era of the 1960s, and is a member of a rather benign if loyal gang, The Black Knights, headed by his charismatic cousin, Spike. The book begins with a symbolic dream sequence so realistically presented that it immediately grabs the reader’s interest, and then continues both to inform and to haunt the richly complex tale that comes after. Friendship, integrity, honor, young sexual escapades - and mobsters for spice - are the main ingredients that comprise Joey’s youthful recollections.

An unusual counterpoint of tenses between past and present is used by A.A. Freda in Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody to lend an impressive and engaging present moment vividness to his writing. Joey is telling of things that happened to him in the past, but he talks as if those events are happening right now. A.A. Freda defies convention somewhat by making this technique work so very well, for the reader finds himself personally involved in some electrically-vivid memories that seem to be happening to him as well. This style is unique and highly effective, giving an immediacy and vibrancy to the telling that moves the story along quickly, but also guiltily, rather like a savory meal impolitely grabbed quickly on the run. It doesn’t matter. The story is much too tasty to forget.

Samantha Coville

Joey is not unlike many of the people in his town; he's an immigrant. The early 1960s saw a flood of new residents coming into the country and the Bronx was a hub of that intake. Joey, the hero of our story, is from Italy and is readjusting to life with the help of his new friends, while also trying to maintain who he is and his sense of normalcy. But, besides the booming immigration, the '60s brought with it the exploration of drugs, love not war, and rock n' roll music. It's a lot to take in, especially when new to the country, and Joey has a struggle ahead. And there's one last element that adds to the confusion: who is Rudy Kazoody?

The beauty of Goodbye, Rudy Kazoody is not the story line. I was not thrilled by the story itself. But the setting the story takes place in is beautifully written. A.A. Freda captures the craziness and excitement of the '60s and develops characters in depth to experience it all. Her characters are in a time period from before I was born and yet I feel connected with them - this is an impressive skill. And I'm not a history fanatic by any stretch since I actually failed a history class once, but this novel makes the decade seem so accessible and understandable. You don't read this for what happens; you read this to be teleported there yourself. If that sounds like a fun reading adventure to you, this is your book. I hope A.A. Freda will explore other decades in other works, but for now I'm content with this.