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"Book Life" Review - Editor's Pick

"Book Life" - Publisher's Weekly Subsidiary for Self-Published Authors

Levine’s fiction debut is a love letter not just to romance, but to the power of friendship and found family. Sal’s dream of a tour company in his beloved New York City is gone, thanks in part to his friend and business partner, Manny. At 43, the self-described autodidact has his cab medallion and supports his 70-year-old father, Joe, and eight-year-old son, Bennie, in 1990s Brooklyn. Enter Terry, a wealthy woman from Wisconsin, who’s in the city for just a short time and scheduled for a tour with Sal—a last hurrah of sorts for him.

Even though Bennie’s mother left the family years ago, Sal and Joe have teamed up to give Bennie the best life possible despite the challenging circumstances. Sal’s relationship with Terry blossoms slowly as he opens the door to his world for her, but from their very first meeting the pair draw sparks as they settle into debates, philosophical and otherwise, interspersed with the type of vulnerability that comes from knowing one may never see the other person again. Levine brings the city to life, welcoming readers into a place and time where a neighborhood was a person’s entire world and generations circled around each other, in good times and in bad.

Levine’s fast-paced, sharp dialog and spot-on ambiance slowly tease out the characters’ stories, especially how Terry is pulled into Sal’s daily life, offering her glimpses of the man behind the steering wheel—from the family meal with Sal’s friend, Schmuli, to witnessing his polar plunge on Brighton Beach. Each area of Brooklyn finds a new piece of the man revealed, a fresh insight into his life, especially when it comes to the possibility that he may lose custody of Bennie with his ex-wife back in the picture. Readers will fall in love with this novel and hope for the happily ever after that may—or may not—materialize.


Comparable Titles: Richly imagined love letter to Brooklyn through the eyes of a vulnerable man.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

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