In my sister’s eulogizing speech for my father, she talked about how she would miss sharing her latest literary discoveries with him. This weekend, I understand what she was talking about. I forget exactly what item it was that I was perusing at Amazon.com, when I first discovered this book’s existence… Probably back a few months ago in my Mike Royko phase, when I was trying to read everything he wrote. In fact, as I write this, I am now sure of it; I was looking to buy Royko’s “Boss”, his swift, cutting, and dead-on account of the foibles of the late Mayor Daley of Chicago. While looking at the information on that book, in the almost-scary computer-generated “perhaps you might also like” sidebar, was a suggestion for a book I had never heard of, by an author I had long ago heard of.
The Short Sweet Dream of Eduardo Gutierrez, by Jimmy Breslin, is the sad story of a Mexican immigrant worker who died trying to make money for his family, at a construction site run by a scumbag juiced-in with the Machine of New York, who of course crawled away from the whole sad scene like the insect he is.
It was a story so sad, so poignant and so well told that I felt myself pausing many times during the reading of this book, thinking how much my father would have liked this book. I still have dad’s copy of Breslin’s “The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight”, which he gave me so many years ago, but for some reason have not gotten around to reading. Even not having read “The Gang..” I know that Eduardo’s tale is so much more important. This is a tale told with that cynical anger and crystal clear vision—honed by living in and reporting about a city that shrouds its daily lies in payoffs and spin—that delivers to you the anger and sadness that all sensible citizens of this earth should walk around with, when they learn of poor Eduardo’s fate, and the depths of hell the perpetrators of Eduardo’s fate belong in, yet walk the streets of Brooklyn today.
Dad would have loved this book. I started it on Friday night on the way home from work, and I stayed up ‘till 3AM finishing it last night, and I loved it in a bittersweet way, thrice over. I felt sad for Eduardo, I felt sad for my dad, and I felt sad for myself. Read this book. Share it with me. It’s good, and needs to be read, and my dad is dead so I can’t share it with him.