cover image Diner Guys

Diner Guys

Unknown, Chip Silverman. Citadel Press, $18.95 (345pp) ISBN 978-1-55972-009-0

Life for teenagers like the author--a son of Russian-Jewish immigrants and himself former director of Maryland's Drug Abuse Administration, who grew up in Northwest Baltimore's ``melting pot'' in the '50s--is said to center on the neutral turf of a playground, where rival ethnic gangs vie for city sports championships. In the first and best part of his reminiscence and report, Silverman sketches a refreshing cast of characters who hung out at the diner of the title and were featured in the 1982 movie Diner , directed by classmate Barry Levinson. Their youthful, sometimes hilarious but not-so-harmless high jinks and status-enhancing sexual exploits, boastfully recounted in pithy and irreverent language, masked more valuable, often lasting male camaraderie. Like a faithful class secretary, the author follows a group of scattered diner alumni, updating their activities through the '80s. The most colorful chronicles tell of professional fulfillment as pizza chain owners, rabbis and the perhaps less reputable, but still eventful, lives of mavericks, gamblers, drug users and dealers. (Oct.)