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Abramo's Gift by Donald Greco
American Rifle: A Biography by Alexander Rose
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Shadow of the Valley by Fred Chappell
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When Boston Won the World Series by Bob Ryan

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Try to Remember
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Abramo's Gift: 02/02/09

Abramo's Gift by Donald Greco is the story of a friendship between two immigrant families, one Italian and one Irish. All of this takes place in Youngstown Ohio at the turn of the last century. Abramo, the hero of the novel, faces racism in his new home and carries with him the demons of his past: a civil war and the deaths of his wife and daughter.

Abramo's Gift is what I would call a situational drama. Abramo Cardone's tragic life, his work at the Irish owned steel mill and the way in which he meets Molly are all there to keep the emotional tension tightly wound.

Throughout all of this drama and tragedy, Abramo is a likeable chap. He keeps his temper. He's quick and willing to learn English. He wants to make his uncle proud and do good for his friends. If anything he's too good and too perfect. In other words, he's a Marty Stu.

Hugh, Abramo's Irish-American counterpart, caught my attention more so than Abramo. He's not as perfect as Abramo. He's skeptical and prone to moments of prejudice. He's also aware of his weaknesses and is willing to push himself to move past his problems. Much of Abramo's good luck in his new home comes from Hugh's good will.

The novel is a good start with an interesting historical setting and context but it could have been more. There are very few surprises in the novel. It follows a pretty standard script from start to finish. For what it is, it's perfectly adequate. It just could and should have better.

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