Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Don't Ever Get Old (Daniel Friedman)

Daniel Friedman’s Don’t Ever Get Old is one of the most original novels I’ve read in a very long time.  It takes the reader on a whirlwind ride that is not only highly disturbing and downright sad but also managed to have me in hysterics much of the time.  You’ll feel every emotion while reading this and probably be a little sad when it ends too.

Eighty-seven year old Baruch “Buck” Schatz is our narrator, and boy, is he ever a cranky one.  Buck has long ago retired from his detective job, having gained “legendary” status at the station, and just wants to live quietly with his wife, Rose, and his ever-present Lucky Strikes.  After he is called to the deathbed of someone he knew a long time ago, he unwittingly goes, only to be told something that shocks him to the core.  What ensues is a mad-dash caper to get his hands on Nazi gold, and most importantly, the ex-guard hiding in plain sight in America.  This is anything but easy, with non-stop murders being committed along the way.

While Don’t Ever Get Old has an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, it is Buck who is the star.  His words are never minced, and many times, you’re not going to believe what comes out of his mouth.  But if you read between the lines, you clearly see that he truly has a heart of gold.  This has “movie” written all over it, so let’s hope it’s as well-written and entertaining as the book.