5 out of 5 stars
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Beneath the Polish Moon, by Jake Kaminski, is the story of two boys from a Polish neighborhood in Milwaukee in the 1960s who became best friends the moment they met when Eugene moved in next door to Luke. The story revolves around the boys and their friends growing up and Luke's adult life.
Like all young boys, Luke and Eugene didn't think about danger; they followed their instincts. The boys survived childhood from tobogganing in the snow, sliding down the laundry chute, going on their first camping trip without their dads, and much more. As they matured, their lives went down different paths, and the boys lost touch. Luke moved to Miami and became a police officer. His carefree spirit faded as he fought crime on the Miami streets. Luke excelled at his job and got several promotions. The one that changed him the most was when he headed up the vice narcotics unit. Police work hardened Luke. He knew he had changed but couldn't get his mind off the things he encountered on his job. He had little time to spend with his wife and children. He had never returned to his childhood home, but he had reflected much on his youth. What had happened to his friends? What had he faced as a police officer on the streets of Miami that changed him so drastically?
At first glance, the reader may think this is just a coming-of-age story, but you will quickly discover it is much more than that. Jake Kaminski wrote a novel that will make you laugh at the boy's antics, cry at their heartbreaks, and hold your breath to see how they come out of dangerous situations. Luke and Eugene are the main protagonists in the story, and the chapters vacillate between Luke's childhood and his life as an adult. I can't choose a favorite aspect of this book because I loved everything about the story. My favorite characters are Luke and Eugene, although their friends Stanley and Gus are also endearing. However, Luke and Eugene have a history before they meet Stanley and Gus. The two boys got into touchy situations, such as locking the babysitter out of the house and sliding down the laundry chute, yet they came out unscathed.
I can't think of anything I disliked about this book. It appeared professionally edited, with only a few errors. There is some profanity, but it is not excessive. The characters are realistic, and their mischievous ways are believable. The book contrasts childhood innocence with adulthood stress and responsibility. Beneath the Polish Moon deserves a 5 out of 5 stars. I couldn't find any reason to deduct any points. The ending caught me by surprise; it was surreal.
I look forward to reading more of Jake Kaminski's work. I recommend this book to young adults sixteen through adulthood who enjoy reading light-hearted descriptions of growing up and intense adult dramas.
Beneath the Polish Moon
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