Official Review: Chicago Westside Irish

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Official Review: Chicago Westside Irish

Post by Christieee »

[Following is an official review of "Chicago Westside Irish" by Jerry McHugh and Mike McHugh.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Chicago Westside Irish: A book of Short Stories is just that: a book of short stories. Written by Jerry and Mike McHugh, the 120-page book details interesting stories told to them by their father, Gerald (Jerry) McHugh, of his life and many incidents in “the wild Chicago of the ’20s.” The stories include gang stories, prison chronicles, and many more. After reading this book, I can tell you that Chicago was indeed a wild place, and Gerald McHugh had a front-row seat to everything!

Gerald McHugh was not your regular man. He had connections from all over Chicago. He knew almost everybody and could shake things. He learned the art of making “friends” from his father and taught his sons the same. At first, he worked with the bricklayer’s union in Chicago, but he went on to work with his friend, Eddie Hanley, in the hotel and restaurant business. Through the Union, he and Eddie got some fascinating stories and were also able to touch people’s lives. In the Union, Gerald had to deal with gangs while watching out for his best friend, Eddie. As a true Irish man, he turned his experiences into stories that his sons eagerly listened to and have chronicled in this book.

This book contains thirty-three short stories. While I found some stories hilarious and interesting, some others were downright inappropriate, and I wondered how a father could have told his young children such tales. Nevertheless, my favorite was “Sambo’s strike” because it was about women’s empowerment. From the first few pages, I thought that this book was only going to be about Gerald, and I had already written it off as a biography. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see stories of other people that were connected to him. I especially appreciated Eddie Hanley because of his generosity. An example is how he started the initiative to build a national stadium in Ireland.

This book has a lot of content relating to gangs and gun violence. In my opinion, those were the worst aspects of the book. However, the inclusion of several good deeds done by Gerald and his associates was a redeeming factor for the entire piece, and I always looked forward to such stories. Another thing I disliked was the organization of this book. It began by introducing Gerald and his two best friends, Al and Eddie, but after that, I never saw anything about Al until the ending. It also felt like the stories of Gerald’s life were told haphazardly.

I think that this book needs another round of editing. This is because I found many errors. I also discovered that the authors included the same story twice! The paging was also not professionally done. For instance, over twenty pages were numbered as “29.” This book is filled with profanity, and it contains slightly erotic scenes. People who are against gun violence and gangs will loathe to read this book. I recommend it to people who want to know more about the inner workings of Chicago. You might find this book interesting if anecdotes are your thing. My rating for this piece is 2 out of 4 stars. I removed two stars because I don’t think it was properly edited, and I feel that some stories were too crass. If another round of editing is done, I will rate it higher.

Chicago Westside Irish
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Post by The_Vivian »

I love the honesty, and clarity of your review. I can already imagine what some of the stories would look like merely from reading your review. I am however not a fan of gang related books but I hope those who like, and enjoy reading books like that give it a try, because I think that it is worth it.

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Post by aodonnell »

Thanks for your honest review! It sounds like it could be an interesting story, but especially when making a book out of stories and anecdotes, it's very important to have a good editor, not only for content, but to help with structure and layout. I would be interested to read a polished up edition.

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Post by Joan642 »

I think "sambo strike" would be my favorite too, I love reading about women empowerment. Thanks for the review.

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Post by Star_and_Buck »

Thanks for an honest and informative review. I will let this one pass all because of your review.

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Post by Slater678 »

I like the thought of a father passing his knowledge and experience to his children as did Jerry in this book. Thanks for the wonderful review.

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Post by NetMassimo »

It's hard to think of a book about the Chicago of the 1920s with gangs and violence not being important elements, so readers should be warned. Thank you for your honest review!
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Post by AnnOgochukwu »

'...a front row seat to everything', that cracked me up 😄. Gerald was surely 'the life of the party'. And, it doesn't surprise me that someone who had a lot relationship with gangsters would tell his children crass stories.
Your review was really interesting and refreshing to read. Great analysis and fair rating.
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Post by LinaJan »

Regardless of the drawbacks, this sounds like something I would love! An Irishman in the 1920' Chicago just has this charm! Thank you for such a thorough and frank review :)

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Post by Phelicia Gloria »

This could be a great book if it was properly edited, thanks for well detailed review.
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