The Buzz Boys

Fiction - Social Issues
335 Pages
Reviewed on 12/15/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Edward Izzi, a full-time CPA, is a native of Detroit, with a successful accounting firm in the north suburban Chicago area. A talented writer in high school, he was told by one of his English teachers that any career in anything other than writing would be a "waste of time". Edward didn't start taking his writing talents seriously until much later in life. He has now written a countless number of short stories, poetry, and has completed several fiction thriller novels, including: Of Bread and Wine – A Rose from The Executioner – Demons of Divine Wrath – Quando Dormo – El Camino Drive, the political thriller When A Rook Takes the Queen – The Buzz Boys and the recent Detroit based Detective novel: They Only Wear Black Hats.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

The Buzz Boys, by Edward Izzi, is a touching and powerful coming-of-age novel about secrets, trauma, and friendship. The Buzz Boys centers around a group of friends who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. They could have called themselves the Z Boys because each of them had a Z in their last name. But they were dubbed The Buzz Boys because their voices made a buzzing sound when they were talking in shop class. The unique thing is that each of them suffered physical and emotional abuse, and grew up with the aftereffects. They had to live in the shadow of their fathers' abuse. Each boy is different, and so is affected in different ways. The main character Robert Mazzara is an attorney in Chicago, and when he hears about the suicide of one of his best friends, he realizes the Buzz Boys were a long time ago, and it's been fifty years. They've been through a lot together, and this is their story.

Izzi has created a novel that is compelling, dark at times, and has its finger on the pulse of trauma and how it follows victims through life, coloring their choices, emotions, relationships, careers, self-worth, just to name a few. Opening with Mazzara's friend Marco and his father, this impactful, heart-twisting novel gets to the point of how damaging abusive fathers can be. This author writes characters that could walk off the pages and into your living room. They're real, personal, fully formed, and different from one another, yet share similar pain and outcomes. The writing is captivating, the plot strong and poignant, but there are some unexpected events to keep you wondering what will happen next. I love how Izzi takes you back through the decades and makes their childhoods real for you, and then leads you through their process of going from boys to men. Mazzara is a great character to know.

Though this is a hard book to read at times, as a former child/adult protection social worker, I can say that you will be emotionally rewarded if you stick with it, and there are some uplifting parts to balance the dark. The end gave me a chill, and that rarely happens when I read a book. As you read and get to know these characters, you want to right the wrongs, you want to do something to change their lives for the better, you want to help them. If you like friendship stories and character studies as depicted in works like Stand by Me, It, or Mystic River, you will connect with The Buzz Boys by Edward Izzi.

K.C. Finn

The Buzz Boys is a work of fiction in the social issues genre. It is aimed at the adult reading audience due to mature subject matter and was penned by author Edward Izzi. The book follows lawyer Robert Mazzara as he reflects upon his childhood after learning of the suicide of an old friend. Part of a group of friends who shared not just their childhood but their trauma at the hands of abusive family members and sexual predators, The Buzz Boys stepped into adulthood determined to escape the shadows of their past. Yet the scars from such experiences last a lifetime and over the last fifty years the struggle has consumed almost all of them.

This book handles an extremely sensitive subject matter with a sense of dignity for those who survive childhood abuse that many other books in this area could learn from. Robert and his friends are subjected to unimaginable trauma, but Edward Izzi is a skilled enough writer to explore the lifelong impact of that trauma without ever debasing the characters for shock value. Instead, the different characters are given room to develop and stand out as fully realized people with the aftereffects of their childhood abuse being shown with sensitivity and maturity. Their journeys are difficult, and readers should prepare themselves for The Buzz Boys to be a book that challenges their views on what trauma looks like in different people. Despite this core aspect, the prose of the novel is welcoming and accessible, and the story is well worth your time.

Rabia Tanveer

The Buzz Boys by Edward Izzi is the coming-of-age story of five friends who learned to cope with the demons of their past and yet succumb to them. Robert Mazzara, Marco Pezza, Johnny Orozco, Billy Kozar and Petey Rodriguez were the Buzz Boys. All from abusive homes where they were sexually abused, and their fathers physically assaulted them, the only thing that kept them all sane was each other. Growing up was hard, but they managed somehow. Well, Robert did, until he was the only one. One by one, all the Buzz Boys lost the battle and succumbed to the tragedy of their lives. Robert was a successful attorney when he got the news that Marco had committed suicide. Robert was transported back into the days of his childhood when he and his friends lived the worst life had to offer them. And that was a dangerous place for his thoughts to wander especially considering what was happening in his life at the moment.

There is something so special and heartbreaking about the way author Edward Izzi writes his stories. They hurt in the right way. The narrative makes you feel emotional without any over-the-top dialogues. I think this is because the stories he writes are stories of real people, which is why they elicit such reactions from readers. The narrative was smooth as silk, the dialogues, the descriptions, and the imagery all flowed together. Robert’s character was simple yet complex at the same time. He drove the story forward; he made sure that readers had an interest in him and had all eyes on him. While the topic of abuse against such young kids was hard to read, it was also an eye-opener. There was nothing too vivid or gory in The Buzz Boys, but it all felt real enough to make me feel squeamish at times. Well done!

Vincent Dublado

The Buzz Boys by Edward Izzi is a riveting psychological drama about the scars of abuse. Vincenzo Pezza is an octogenarian who has been living in Chicago. One day as he walks to his car, his estranged son, Marco, pops up and invites him to talk inside the car. Vincenzo makes it clear that if Marco needs money again, he wouldn’t be getting any. Marco dials on his phone and reports a double murder to the police—he says that there are two dead bodies inside a Buick. After the call, Marco draws his pistol, jams it against his father’s head, and begins a litany of his father’s transgressions against the family before pulling the trigger. This tragedy reaches Marco’s long-time friend, Robert Mazzara. Robert, along with the rest of their close friends, Petey Rodriguez, Billy Kozar, and Johnny Orozco, all share the common ground of experiencing abuse in their childhood days. Vincenzo’s death then triggers Robert’s journey to the past that is connected to his best friend’s death.

What makes The Buzz Boys a remarkable read is the fearlessness with which it confronts the ugliness of all facets of abuse. These men are stuck in the vicious trappings of mistreatment, that began in their tender years, usually from people that were supposed to nurture them. Edward Izzi effectively illustrates on all sides the sadness and tragedy that these men as children had to contend with. Izzi brings a nuance to the boys and powerfully captures the distinctive experiences that these boys went through that have left a scar in their older years. The novel’s fixation on the past makes for a strong plotline as it establishes a connection to the present lives of the characters. The Buzz Boys is a powerful novel. It is a story that reminds you that the past will always be a part of your life, and why it is important to make peace with it.