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When John Steinbeck published Cannery Row in 1945 and its sequel Sweet Thursday 15 years later, he found humour and pathos in a cast of down and outs: homeless people, misfits, con men and prostitutes.
Don't get me wrong. How to Beg for Cigarettes , isn't crafted by a master like Steinbeck.
You might say it's a bit rough around the edges - but it does ring the same bells and it's a gem that would sparkle even more with some polish.
Steinbeck, like most of us, used personal experiences as his foundation in those novels of his.
Matt Ponticello's story is even more autobiographical.
He tells the story of how he came to run an auto (there's that word again) body shop in the pressure-cooker of an inner-city location inhabited by a cast of characters too varied and interesting to make up: homeless people, down and outs, misfits, con men and prostitutes. Sound familiar?
Give this book a chance. You won't be disappointed.
- John Martin,