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Saint Mazie: A Novel by Jami Attenberg
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Saint Mazie: A Novel

by Jami Attenberg

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2592144,125 (3.77)12
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    Their Finest Hour And A Half by Lissa Evans (charl08)
    charl08: Quality 20c historical fiction with humour and strong women characters.
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  activelearning | Nov 27, 2016 |
Meet Mazie Phillips: big-hearted and bawdy, she's the truth-telling proprietress of The Venice, the famed New York City movie theater. It's the Jazz Age, with romance and booze aplenty--even when Prohibition kicks in--and Mazie never turns down a night on the town. But her high spirits mask a childhood rooted in poverty, and her diary, always close at hand, holds her dearest secrets.

When the Great Depression hits, Mazie's life is on the brink of transformation. Addicts and bums roam the Bowery; homelessness is rampant. If Mazie won't help them, then who? When she opens the doors of The Venice to those in need, this ticket taking, fun-time girl becomes the beating heart of the Lower East Side, and in defining one neighborhood helps define the city.

Then, more than ninety years after Mazie began her diary, it's discovered by a documentarian in search of a good story. Who was Mazie Phillips, really? A chorus of voices from the past and present fill in some of the mysterious blanks of her adventurous life.

Inspired by the life of a woman who was profiled in Joseph Mitchell's classic Up in the Old Hotel, SAINT MAZIE is infused with Jami Attenberg's signature wit, bravery, and heart. Mazie's rise to "sainthood"--and her irrepressible spirit--is unforgettable. ( )
  cjordan916 | Jul 31, 2016 |
Unusual concept - taking a real character from another writer's story and creating a fictional character from the original. But anyone with the monicker "Queen of the Bowery" would be an interesting study in any context. Mazie's sisters, lover, and Sister Tee, her best friend who's a nun, are almost as compelling as Mazie herself. She spends her days, during the Depression and WW II, as the cashier at the Venice Movie Theatre and her nights aiding the indigent men of the streets. As Mazie and her family move through the city, each neighborhood is described in depth through Mazie's cynical yet empathetic eyes. Especially stimulating is her blissful solo commute (not approved of for women on the time) on the opening of the subway line from Coney Island to Manhattan.

As personal and historical tales of the eras and the locales go, this would be one of the best. ( )
1 vote froxgirl | Apr 3, 2016 |
This fiction book is based upon the life of real-life Mazie Phillips-Gordon (Queen of the Bowery). She was the ticket booth lady at the Venice Theatre in the 1920’s. Mazie was somewhat wild, which I guess wasn’t that unusual at the time. But she also had a heart of gold, helping the homeless with little acts of kindness. It is written as journal entries from Mazie, along with snippets of interviews from people who knew her. However I found there were too many people to keep track of, people that just pop up in the story with no real background information to determine their importance on Mazie’s life. The entire book just seemed too disconnected to me. I would have liked to have known more about Mazie but I didn’t get much from this book. ( )
  BettyTaylor56 | Feb 12, 2016 |
I really wanted to like this more. It's a time period I like and the kind of material I usually enjoy but it just seemed to ramble along with no particular path or purpose. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
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