Gateway Gazette

From My BooksHelf: Eddie’s Bastard

 By Lynn Willoughby

Eddie’s Bastard ~  William Kowalsky

Eddie’s bastard is William Amos Mann IV, who is discovered as a small baby at the door of his grandfather’s home.  Billy grows up on “a diet of love and fried baloney sandwiches”.  His drunken grandfather doesn’t believe in school – so Billy is largely self taught, learns to read at a very young age and has all the practical skills of survival that he learns from his grandfather.

There is a metaphysical theme running throughout this novel, with ghosts in the dilapitated mansion, dreams shared by Billy and his grandfather, the belief in past lives and relationships. spectral musicians and the lore of their Irish American heritage.

Billy’s father was killed in the Viet Nam war before he was born.  He has no idea who his mother is.  Because of his unusual upbringing he has few friends besides Annie, the girl his age who lives up the hill and who is terrified of her father. As he listens to his grandfather’s stories about family, history, fortunes won and lost, heroism, bravery, cowardice and faith Billy becomes his own person.  This is ultimately a story of Billy’s search for himself and the need to record the family stories so the legends can survive.  After all, he is the last surviving Mann in Mannville.

As Billy matures I began to really like him.  His grandfather was short on rules and supervision, so Billy often learns life’s lessons the hard way.  And while he dreams of becoming a writer, he realizes he must live a little first, travel and learn about the wider world. 

Nevertheless “There is no leaving so permanent that it cannot be undone by coming home again”.  

This is a very worthwhile read.

  • Somewhere South of Here
  • Just Gone

…………..and several others

Who Knew?

Ceili dances are a popular form of folk dancing in Ireland, usually accompanied by the Uillean Bagpipes and Fiddles.

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