Note: This review is from Linda, a member of the library staff.
“The Edge of Lost” by Kristina McMorris
First line: Alcatraz Island, October 1937 Fog encircled the island, a strangling grip, as search efforts mounted.
Summary: Shanley Keagen is a 10-year-old orphan in Ireland in the 1920’s. He lives with his drunken and abusive uncle in a run-down slum in Dublin. His uncle takes advantage of Shanley’s skills, pushing him into performing in low-class pubs and then taking what small wages Shanley earns.
Shanley convinces his uncle to migrate to America where they can make more money from Shanley’s entertaining. They make their way to America, but his uncle dies during the voyage. Alone at only 12, Shanley must figure out how to get through Ellis Island with no family contacts in his new country. He befriends a young Italian boy, Nick Capello, whose family has been visiting Italy and are on their way home to the U.S. The boys convince Nick’s parents to accept Shanley as their long deceased son Tommy, so Shanley now has a new family. So begins his new life in America as Tommy Capello.
The book details Tommy’s life growing up in an Italian family, his relationships with his siblings and the Italian mob during the 1930’s. After trying to save his brother Nick in a supposed bank robbery, Tommy is sent to Leavenworth Penitentiary.
While there, he once again begins entertaining, this time his fellow inmates, with his jokes, stories and voice imitations. Tommy is then transferred to Alcatraz to serve the remaining time on his 20-year sentence. While there he becomes the model prisoner and eventually finds a way to escape with help from some unusual contacts.
Linda’s thoughts: I chose this book because of a post on Pinterest I saw that someone had shared. I found the very beginning of the book to be somewhat slow, but after about 25 pages I became interested in the plot. The story has a twist I never expected and it was difficult to stop reading! I highly recommend this book with its action, surprise situations, and plot-twisting end.
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