Hard City

Clark Howard, Author
Clark Howard, Author Dutton Books $21.95 (513p) ISBN 978-0-525-24857-6
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Richie, a 12-year-old runaway, cries himself to sleep every night in the bowling alley where he lives. His mother is a junkie, his dad, a bootlegging ex-con. His chaotic life, in Howard's ( Dirt Rich ) overwritten semi-autobiographical novel, is a jumble of street thievery, teen gangs, sex with peers and older women, reform school, boxing, foster homes, sadistic punishments and sexual abuse. These are the lower depths, 1950s Chicago-style. Rescued by his grandmother who brings him to Tennessee, Richie joins the Marines and fights in Korea. A library card helps him gain a sense of directon. Despite the gritty realism and a searing portrayal of a youth's terrible burden in having a heroin addict for a mother, Howard is not in control of his material here. Tightening a flaccid story line and pruning by half might have turned this self-indulgent catharsis into a moving novel. (Apr.)
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