Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Saint Mazie is inspired by the real life Mazie Philips-Gordon known as the Queen of the Bowery. Mazie was a staple of life in the Bowery section of New York int he 1920s and 1930s. Little seems to be known about her real life, so Jami Attenberg imagines the details and brings the character to life in her latest novel. Her story is told through diary entries and interviews from the people that knew her. Mazie spent her life helping others less fortunate and more broken (maybe) than herself. The owner/manager of the Venice movie theater in New York, Mazie met and interacted with the patrons of her theater who subsequently became her extended family. She was a tough woman with a loud mouth but a caring and loving heart.
I enjoyed the book and loved the layout of the diary entries along with the interviews that seemed to help fill in the holes. Keep in mind that the book is a work of fiction but is inspired by a real person. I've tried to do some research on Mazie to see where the line between fact and fiction is drawn, but it is hard to tell, which makes the story that much more interesting.
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