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"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel—the one that catapulted its author to national fame—is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski.

Topics: Beat Generation, Alcoholism, Gambling, Working Class, Sex, Love, Racing, Funny, Dark, Gritty, Black Humor, Realism, Los Angeles, Semi-Autobiographical, and Short stories

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061844041
List price: $6.99
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I'm a faithful Catholic. Even work for a Catholic parish. So I don't have anything against religion in a book. But this was so ridiculously heavy-handed the spiritual or religious message took all the fun out of it. I found myself rolling my eyes when the unbelievable Fr. John talked. A lot of misunderstandings about what the Church teaches are addressed and, clarified but I don't know who would read this if they weren't already convinced. The romance wasn't strong enough to overcome the heavy handed apologetics.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Blech!!! I was looking forward to this one, after previously reading another book by the author. Her “Sullivan's Island” was richly evocative of the area – its setting, people, customs, mood. This one left me cold. The title character lives in Charleston, and we are introduced to a lot of local restaurants and streets, but they never 'become' part of the story; it felt more like a laundry list of names. Grace is in the luxury travel industry and the author fills pages with descriptions of her tourists and their destinations – Sardinia, California wine country, Mexico City. But there was no magic. Well, actually there WAS magic, but not in great writing. It was all religiosity, catholic saints and miracles. The story line was mundane and predictable. I expected more of Frank's genius in the setting department as well. The characters of the immediate family, though, were fully fleshed out and believable, but that's the only thing I cared for in this book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I see a few did not rate the book well, but I have to differ. I rather enjoyed reading about Grace and her crazy family along with her wonderful boyfriend Michael. It makes you see how other families deal with certain issues that come their way and just how open some Catholics are. As a cancer survivor myself I could relate to Michael and Grace and their fears and joys. I am also Lutheran and can relate to some of the Catholic was as well. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good love story, religious, humor and down right crazy folk.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

I'm a faithful Catholic. Even work for a Catholic parish. So I don't have anything against religion in a book. But this was so ridiculously heavy-handed the spiritual or religious message took all the fun out of it. I found myself rolling my eyes when the unbelievable Fr. John talked. A lot of misunderstandings about what the Church teaches are addressed and, clarified but I don't know who would read this if they weren't already convinced. The romance wasn't strong enough to overcome the heavy handed apologetics.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Blech!!! I was looking forward to this one, after previously reading another book by the author. Her “Sullivan's Island” was richly evocative of the area – its setting, people, customs, mood. This one left me cold. The title character lives in Charleston, and we are introduced to a lot of local restaurants and streets, but they never 'become' part of the story; it felt more like a laundry list of names. Grace is in the luxury travel industry and the author fills pages with descriptions of her tourists and their destinations – Sardinia, California wine country, Mexico City. But there was no magic. Well, actually there WAS magic, but not in great writing. It was all religiosity, catholic saints and miracles. The story line was mundane and predictable. I expected more of Frank's genius in the setting department as well. The characters of the immediate family, though, were fully fleshed out and believable, but that's the only thing I cared for in this book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I see a few did not rate the book well, but I have to differ. I rather enjoyed reading about Grace and her crazy family along with her wonderful boyfriend Michael. It makes you see how other families deal with certain issues that come their way and just how open some Catholics are. As a cancer survivor myself I could relate to Michael and Grace and their fears and joys. I am also Lutheran and can relate to some of the Catholic was as well. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good love story, religious, humor and down right crazy folk.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book was surprising in many ways. Having read several books by this author, I was sure I would like this one as well. I did, but not the way that I expected.The book starts with a rather mundane accounting of Grace's day-to-day life. She's living with her boyfriend, Michael, who is a research physician. On holidays, she visits her family—but without Michael who isn't welcome at her parent's home. Part of the reason is because he's using stem cells in his research and their Catholic doctrine condemns it. But the primary reason is that he's not Italian; he's Irish, of all things.I was lulled along, getting to know the Russos through Grace's visits with them—the conflicts being played out over a dinner table loaded with holiday goodies. Then, the family has to face two crises. First, Nonna falls and breaks her hip. In considerable pain, she refuses to cooperate with her therapists and demands to go home, expecting Grace's mother to care for her around the clock. Then, Michael is diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer and Grace needs her family's support as never before.My favorite character in this book is Father John. I'd like to meet him in real life. In one scene, discussing en vitro fertilization, he says, "I think that the Church's major area of concern has always been that children are begotten not made. Is it right to make children in a laboratory setting just because we can?" And also, "The trick is not to rationalize your decisions knowing that they displease God."I was only looking for a good story, but along with that, I got some wise spiritual guidance. A good deal in my book.
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A departure from Frank's usual fare, but I enjoyed it.
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The best book I've read by Bukowski.
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