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Author Topic: KRITZER TIME Thoughts  (Read 12403 times)

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Panni

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KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« on: February 24, 2004, 07:38:36 PM »

 Well, DRs, I've just had a totally emotional and engrossing experience. I have just read - in two sittings - a pre-publication galley of KRITZER TIME.
What to say? This book affected me on many levels. One was the "Oh yes!" factor of recognizing what it's like to be an out-of-step young artist in a world of numbing conformity. What an unexpected thrill to see reflected  in the life of one Benjamin Kritzer so many things that I thought were singular to my bizarre young life. But even if the reader has not one tiny thing in common with Benjamin, this book takes you on a journey into a world of youth. And we've all been there - some of us still are - either in years or mindset. We see the world through young Benjamin's eyes and we laugh cry and wonder at it with him - through him. KRITZER TIME also happens to be one of the best depictions I've ever read of the creative process in a young person, for whom it is a total and delightful surprise rather than a daunting task.
This book of full of music, movies, theater. Yes! Benjamin, movie buff supreme, discovers the theater. Live actors speaking and singing thrilling words. Sitting alone in a darkened theater for the first time, a new world opens up for our hero. And through this lovely book, we are lucky enough to be invited along for the ride.

I cried several times while reading KRITZER TIME and I defy anyone to reach the last page and not be deeply affected, perhaps even a little changed.
So there you have it - comedy, tragedy, music, movies, theater.
What is it, fish? No, it's KRITZER TIME. Do read it.
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Ben

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2004, 11:09:08 AM »

Here is Penny O's review as posted on BN.com. BK asked that it be posted here as well.

A reviewer, a reader from Southern California, March 11, 2004,
 
Comedy is hard

Bruce Kimmel has come into his full power as a writer. The two Kritzer books that lead to this one showed his mastery of language, his infallible comic timing, his willingness to fully and honestly flesh out his characters - now all the preparation inherent in the writing of those first two installments of the Kritzer trilogy has come to full bloom in this surprising finale. The concerns, joys, troubles, the whole magic world of the child Benjamin evaporate away as this Benjamin experiences his unavoidable Fall from Grace. In his expulsion from Eden, we all lose our innocence.
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DERBRUCER

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2004, 11:17:28 AM »

Here is another review from B&N:

A reviewer, a reader from Chicago, March 10, 2004,

An amazing journey
I was given Benjamin Kritzer as a gift two years ago and I fell in love with him and his world. That book was funny and heartbreaking. Kritzerland was a wonderful follow-up, but nothing could have prepared me for the power of Kritzer Time (apparently the last book in the series). In Kritzer Time we follow Benjamin from thirteen to seventeen, covering the years 1960-1965. I don't want to give anything away, other than to say I laughed out loud many times, and if you are not moved to tears by the end of this book, you have a harder heart than I. Mr. Kimmel has hit a home run once again. A beautiful book.

Also recommended: Benjamin Kritzer and Kritzerland

der Someone Brucer
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Jane

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2004, 07:33:14 PM »

I read, I savored, and I didn’t stop reading until I had finished Kritzer Time.  From the gripping opening to the bittersweet ending I was flooded with memories from my own childhood and enjoyed every minute of this beautiful book.  
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Ann

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2004, 02:04:14 PM »

Here is the review I wrote and posted on web..amazon, et al

I finished reading Kritzer Time not five minutes ago, and I'm sitting here with a few lingering tears in my eyes.  I must write this review before the magic begins to fade and I lose the words.  Kritzer Time is a beautiful and fitting end to the Benjamin Kritzer trilogy.  Kimmel brings the semi-autobiographical character from the innocence of childhood through the trials and tribulations of high school with sensitivity, reverence, and a great deal of humor.  
The reader is granted a front row seat to watch as the boy becomes a young man.  Anyone who grew up enamored with the arts will empathize with Benjamin as he struggles to find his own way in a world that largely doesn't understand him, and will celebrate with him as he finds a place of acceptance and appreciation for his unique talents.  
Whether you grew up in Los Angeles or not, you will identify with Benjamin as he watches his childhood home grow and change, and realizes that he too is changing along with it.  
If you haven't read first two books, read them first!  Then read Kritzer Time and enjoy...
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bk

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2004, 02:12:27 PM »

Thank you all for these beautiful comments.  Ann's brought a tear to my eye (only one eye, though).
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Jrand70

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2004, 05:12:05 PM »

 ;D

I have heard of A Purloined Letter, I have heard of A Purloined Book, I have even heard of Purloined Pearls!  But purloined memories?

That is what Kritzer Time seems like to me.  If I knew for sure it wasn't so, I would be certain that Bruce Kimmel had followed me around from ages 13 to 17.  The wants and fears are the same, the clothes are the same, and most definitely the music is the same.

If Benjamin Kritzer was obsessed with songs, movies, and records in the first two volumes of this trilogy (Benjamin Kritzer and Kritzerland), in Kritzer Time he makes the short leap to passion for them.  And he makes two amazing and life-changing discoveries about himself:  he can CREATE music, and he can hold an audience in the palm of his hand.

In short, as so many of us long to do, Benjamin Kritzer discovers a wonderful and joyful world outside his own.  But is it really outside?  Perhaps the world he has grown up in is the alien one (he always suspected it was so) and the world he is about to step into is the one he belonged in all the time.

Readers of the first two books will be joyful at the return of familiar characters and relish the introductions to new ones.  

Life is wonderful and tragic, and a reader knows his heart has been touched when he immediately understands the feelings the author is expressing.  With moments of high hilarity and other moments of sorrow and longing, Kritzer Time mines that richest of all fields, an adolescence, and comes up with such gold and treasures that it should be kept in a safe place.  

Buy the book (all of them) for a friend.  The friend will thank you.  And in giving it yourself, yours will be safe....like an acquaintance from the past, like a letter from a faraway friend, like a memory you keep inside your heart until it's time to share.  :)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2004, 05:17:07 PM by JRand53 »
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Michael

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2004, 04:58:27 AM »

“Kritzer Time” is the third book in the series in the coming of age saga of Benjamin Kritzer. In the final part of the trilogy author Bruce Kimmel covers precarious teenage years of our hero. From the wonderment of childhood in “Benjamin Kritzer” to the blossoming of adolescence in “Kritzerland”, the journey to manhood continues in “Kritzer Time”.

In “Kritzer Time”, my favorite of the three novels, the author allows us the see what will shape him as an adult. He discovers the theater, dance, singing, jazz, the piano, and composing that will be part of who he is as an adult and the adults that help to encourage and nurture his talents. These adults are the surrogate parents that are absent from his own “Martian” parents. The early sixties also provided us with a wealth of movies, music, and personalities that help Benjamin into manhood.

Susan Pomeroy from the first book makes a welcome return via series of letters that she and Benjamin share. It was wonderful to see that the brief friendship explored in book one still had such a lasting impression on them. Kritzer Time also explores Benjamin's other special friendship with schoolmate Samantha. A private friendship that including watching movies and enjoying cola and French fries together without letting their parents know of the existence of the other.

As with any journey in life, there are also roadblocks that include loss and change. Benjamin as with all epic heroes all experiences these in with the closing of his favorite movie theater, moving to a new house and the loss a favorite housekeeper who he had known all his life. Benjamin, however, makes it to end and then starts the first step into the future.

I recommend this novel as I did “Benjamin Kritzer”, “Kritzerland”. It is not necessary to read the first two novels to enjoy “Kritzer Time”, but I highly recommend that you do in order to feel the emotional impact of growing up within “Kritzer Time”. I have not enjoyed reading stories about growing this much since I read books by Mordecai Richler (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz) and Morley Torgov (Today I Am Fountain Pen).
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William E. Lurie

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2004, 01:00:47 PM »

Up until recently, if someone would have asked me who my favorite adolescent in literature was I'd answer either Huckleberry Finn or Holden Caulfield.  Well now Huck can take another trip down the river and Holden (and Phoebe) can go look for the Central Park birds year round, because Benjamin Kritzer is here.  Benjamin is the subject of a trilogy of books by Bruce Kimmel, previously known as an actor (just about every major 70s sitcom), filmmaker (THE FIRST NUDIE MUSICAL) and Grammy-nominated CD producer (cast albums, Broadway-related material and jazz).  As good as he was in those endeavors --- and he was one of the best ---, I hope he continues to write, as that is where he really shines.  I loved the first two books BENJAMIN KRITZER and KRITZERLAND, but they were just preludes to his masterpiece KRITZER TIME, for although Benjamin Kritzer was an interesting child, by the time he reached his teens (KRITZERLAND ends at Benjamin's Bar Mitzvah and KRITZER TIME follows immediately and goes through his high school graduation) he really came into his own.

KRITZER TIME is less about his family --- although they still play an important part --- and more about Benjamin's discovery of musical theatre (both as a participant and an observer) and original cast recordings, plus his continued love of movies.  It was obviously well researched as he writes about plays that were in Los Angeles during the early 60s, where and when he grew up and movies at the correct time they were released.  But the book is far more than an "and then I saw" recollection.  It's about Benjamin's growing up and learning about life and loss.  One of his favorite movie theatres is turned into a synagogue and Benjamin is quite upset.

One loss Benjamin felt in the first book, his best friend/first girlfriend Susan, plays a small but important part in KRITZER TIME.  And then there is Samantha, who I don't want to say any more about so as not to spoil anything for future readers.

This is the kind of book that had me laughing one minute and in tears the next (both tears of joy at times and tears of sorrow at others).  And while I strongly recommend that readers begin with BENJAMIN KRITZER and KRITZERLAND both for the enjoyment they bring and the background information they give for KRITZER TIME, the third book does stand on its own.  My only minor complaint about BENJAMIN KRITZER was that is was so short it was over as soon as it began.  My only minor complaint about KRITZERLAND was that its ending screamed "another book is coming".  I have no complaints about KRITZER TIME.  It is the perfect book.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2004, 01:04:35 PM by William E. Lurie »
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Dan-in-Toronto

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2004, 08:46:47 PM »

This is more or less the review I tried to post on Amazon. (It's yet to appear - I'm told that maintenance is going on.)


I highly recommend Bruce Kimmel's funny, moving and gentle novel, Kritzer Time. The book takes the reader back to another period - the early 1960s - as seen through the eyes of a teenager named Benjamin Kritzer. Benjamin's world is made up of many characters, among them his quirky family members; the adults he connects with on the radio, in a deli and at music stores; his private friends; and, in cameo appearances, the likes of Judy Garland and Joel Grey. The Los Angeles settings include Benjamin's home (with the vomit-green antiqued piano) and changing neighborhood - as well as the movie houses and legitimate theatres in which, usually as an audience of one, he discovers a world where, we suspect, he will someday play an important part.

What makes this book a special gift is that we see Benjamin's world in Kritzer Time. By doing so, we remember our own youth - our hurts and our triumphs - wherever, whenever it took place.

Kritzer Time is a book to cherish for its richness of period detail; for dialogue that often makes us laugh out loud; for characters who are both like and thankfully unlike people we have known; and for a story that touches us in an honest way. It creates a mood and sustains it well beyond the final page. I did not want this book to end.

« Last Edit: April 16, 2004, 04:38:56 AM by Dan-in-Toronto »
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Ben

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2004, 05:09:44 PM »

I became aquainted with Benjamin Kritzer through the novels Benjamin Kritzer and the sequel Kritzerland. Both books were enjoyable treats following the exploits of a young boy in 1950s and 1960s Los Angeles. These two books were a build up to the third book Kritzer Time. It follows Benjamin through the end of Junior High and his travails through High School and graduation. I was quickly taken into Kritzer Time, which is both a title and a kind of "virtual reality". Benjamin can stop time (for himself anway) and as the book progresses, uses this technique wonderfully. There are also vivid descriptions of first times for Benjamin, especially first times for certain movies and first times for seeing plays and musicals. The memories are amazingly similar to my own which made me smile. His description of the first time he saw West Side Story mirrored my own experience so much, down to the facts that he wanted to be a Jet and that he danced around his room to the soundtrack of West Side Story, that I was amazed two people in different parts of the country, at different times, could have such a similar experience. His discovery of the power and magic of theatre was also wonderfully reminiscent of my own experiences. The entire last half of the book, actually, is a beautiful description of discovery. Benjamin's discovery of his own talents and his discovery of how he will fit into a rapidly changing world. Little moments that stand out for me are the showdown with the school bully and Benjamin's use of the advice given to him by his protector, who had to leave school but wanted Benjamin to realize he had it within himself to fight the battle without help. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the descriptions of rehearsals, opening nights and performances are beautiful memories of a time long past. His descriptions of a budding friendship with another outsider from school builds to a very moving and thoughtful end in the last chapters of the book. The buildup to the last chapters are filled with the joy of Benjamin realizing he could write songs and make people laugh and also have deep, beautiful friendships with other people. His maturity and growth in facing the problems in one of those friendships is a beautiful moment in the book.

Kritzer Time is a welcome addition to the Kritzer "ouvre". It's a well-written and quite touching look at a time gone by but beautifully remembered. Read the book (actually, read all three books - you don't NEED to read them in order, but you will certainly have a good time doing it). You won't regret it.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2004, 06:37:09 PM by Ben »
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elmore3003

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Re:KRITZER TIME Thoughts
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2004, 07:16:42 PM »

NOTE: SPOILERS IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH!

KRITZER TIME is the final installment of a great biographical novel; I refuse to see it as a third novel by Mr Bruce Kimmel, but as the third and final installment, just as Mr Dickens, Mr Dumas and others wrote their epic tales in installment form.

KRITZER TIME is resonant on many levels:  Benjamin Kritzer, our eponymous hero, progresses through high school, develops more of his talents, endures more loss and gains, finds himself, and emerges as the Young Artist.  The nebbish turns tables on bullies, suffers more embarassment and humiliation from his Martian family, learns to love, learns that he is not alone in the scheme of things, and comes out a winner.  We've all been there, and we think we're the only ones to suffer as Benjamin does, but all of us should suffer with such excellent humor.

Once again the book is crammed with humor, compassion, popular song, lots of movies, things I thought I'd long forgotten like fizzies and wax lips, and once again the undercurrent is the loss of time, traditions, love, and change, whether we want it to happen or not.  Benjamin's last performance in the book is the narration of Gordon Jenkins' MANHATTAN TOWER, but the resonance of loss in the final chapter extends far beyond Benjamin's loss to the World Trade Center on 9/11.

The final scene between Susan Pomeroy, who vanished in the first book and whose presence haunts the second, is as moving as the final scene between Pip and Estella in GREAT EXPECTATIONS.  It is to Mr Kimmel's credit that the comedian in him steps down and lets his soul take over.  And what a beautiful soul it is!





« Last Edit: April 28, 2004, 10:47:12 PM by bk »
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