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Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective
Edited by NY Post Columnist/Author Chip Deffaa
Paperback: 218 pages, US $8.99
Kindle/Nook version $7.99.
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Almost 500 "Five Star" reviews on Amazon and other online booksellers.
Was #1 "Top Rated" on Amazon in four categories for three full years.
Also available at Barnes & Noble Online.
This explosive autobiographical volume is about Jerry Castaldo growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn, NY, his agonizing descent into the darkness of the city's underbelly and his desperate struggle back to normalcy.
"Heartbreaking," "surprising," "emotionally charged."
"Shocking," "volatile," "riveting" and "just plain scary."
Those comments are from readers of this book who cut a wide swath across a varied demographic--men, women; young, old; and who are from varying socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and locales.
"Village Voice" columnist and TV's "E! Channel" regular Michael Musto calls it: "A gritty tale of dark struggle."
NY Post celebrity gossip columnist and "Good Morning America" regular Cindy Adams exclaims: "He writes of being bludgeoned with a hammer...this will NOT be made into a musical!"
David Brenner, comedian and former "The Tonight Show" host says: "Congratulations on the book, and more importantly, on your life!"
America's largest Italian American newspaper, The Italian Tribune, promises: "You'll be captured from the very first page!"
Jerry Seinfeld, comedian and sitcome star: "I'm telling you right now--this guy is gonna be the biggest thing in show business."
Copyright 1996 - 2016
Here are just some of the almost 500 "Five Star" reviews from readers worldwide!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - A Compelling Collection! (Reviewer, M.R.P.)
More so than with most "page turners", I actually had to stop myself skipping sentences during the many races from tension to release which unfold throughout the pages of this book. In 'Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective', Jerry Castaldo shares a compelling collection of autobiographical tales which comprise a portrait of the author and his self-deliverance from a world he recounts as desperate and dangerous. His physical extraction is paralleled by the unfolding of an inner journey towards the freedom of self-understanding, with themes of entrapment and escape, fear and courage, frustration and hope. The imagery and drama are richly detailed, the situations moving and memorable. Whereas the lives of ordinary people are increasingly propped up and passed off as entertainment, this engaging work offers a worthwhile glimpse of reality at its realest: raw, rough, and resolute. It is an honest and apt account of the achievements of one individual at large in unsteady times. Strongly recommended.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - "Simply put. The best book I ever read!" December 6, 2010
Dr. Joel Levy (NYC)
Never have I picked up a book at 1 am to read for a few minutes and got so drawn in that I was still reading it when the alarm click signlaed time for work. Holy cow. What a book! From page one the action never lets up. I ended up finishing the book the next afternoon. It was an incredible roll a coaster ride from start to finish. Be warned. If you start this masterpiece, be prepared to finish as you will not be able to put it down. Deserves more than 5 stars!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Outstanding entertainment and insight! Nov 28, 2010
R. Shipon (Author/Psychologist)
I am deeply grateful to Jerry Castaldo for writing this book. Its pace is so brisk and interesting, with unbelievable scenarios, that it is hard to believe one man had so many things happen in his life. The way it is presented is incredibly entertaining. This book really MOVES and the reader finds himself befriending Jerry by the end of the book. Jerry is the ultimate protagonist. If you have ever wondered how good people manage to make the incorrect choices they do, read this book. It holds that kind of wisdom.
This book is down to earth, accessible, fun, and interesting. It connects with popular culture and our recent past in a way few other books do. I am deeply moved by Jerry's experiences, his writing, and his generosity in writing such an eye-opening and entertaining personal story. What a ride! It is a gift to read this book. I feel very lucky for having done so.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Simply Wonderful! December 16, 2010
This is by far one of the best books I have ever put my hands on. I felt like I was right in the middle of every thing as it happened. Not actually being from New York myself, I thought that I would feel like an outsider, eavesdropping and looking in. But it was nothing like that, I was part of it. If it had not been for work, I would not have put the book down once. Jerry, the way that you have written this down is just amazing. Hands down this has become my number one recommended book to every one that I meet.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Worth The Effort!, November 20, 2010
Jerry Castaldo's memoir, "Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective", could be another in a series of personal trauma and redemption books. However, one thing, truly sets it above the others. You care about Jerry. As I read one harrowing chapter after another, I could not avoid thinking 'how could I have helped Jerry' - or someone like him. Cut from the same cloth as "My Friend Leonard" or "Less Than Zero", Jerry cuts close to home with his afflictions and addictions and moreover the impact on those around him. Some sections are disturbing visceral and he does not flinch from sharing his deepest, darkest times. Nonetheless this guy, Jerry, is worth the effort. Take the journey with him, read his tale. At times you will want to take him by the shoulders and slap some sense into him and by the next paragraph you want to hug him and tell him you care. It is a reprisal of a life. Jerry takes control and his indemnification is touchingly honest.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Breathtakingly past-paced page turner! November 22, 2010
By Sandee - This review is from: Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective: A Memoir (Paperback)
Jerry Castaldo is something like the cyborg in the Terminator. He walks through fire, gets up after being smashed to smithereens; skin melting off his frame, head hanging off, and keeps on plodding forward. His honest portrayal of himself is actually almost as scary as it is awe-inspiring. The beauty of the book is that Jerry doesn't know he's a kind of hero. Mostly, he seems to think he's a screw-up, but all the same, he never gives in. Despite himself, he somehow keeps moving toward his goal. The images he paints of his exploits remain with you for a long time - some of them even permanently. His struggle, and his ultimate emergence into the person he always dreamed of becoming are breathtaking. This book by jerry Castaldo is a MUST-read! It is an important body of work for anybody who thinks they can never amount to anything, and for everybody else ... and I am most certainly richer for having read it!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Fabulous!
I tip my hat to author Castaldo for a very well written book! His story had me in its grips from page one. I went through a whole roller coaster of emotions while reading. It's very rare that I fight off sleep, but this book kept me reading into the wee hours. Highly recommend!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Fantastic! Now "this" is a book!
I bought this book after reading all of the reviews and must admit that it did deliver as promised. At no point do things slow down in this book. It's a constantly moving forward type of energy embedded in this books pages, which kept me reading. Finished it in a few days and found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it. So much stuff happens, both good and bad. It was definitly worth the purchase.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Inspiring story!
I stayed up until 3 am this morning finishing this truly inspiring and engaging book. Jerry Castaldo's story is amazing and a must read. I will not go into the details of the book since some people who may be reading his review have not read the book yet. All I can honestly say is it is a great story and a must read.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Thanks for the huge, dark circles under my eyes!
Normally, I try to read a little bit at night and I'm always falling asleep within 10 minutes. Well, reading this book has been quite different. I finished it in two days! I just couldn't get enough of this book. How the author could keep my interest page after page is true genius. The military part of this book was also fascinating for me to read too. Great stories and great writing style and readibility. This book was inspiring and honestly was emotionally hard to read at times-only because I get very involved in what I am reading and I really felt the authors pain. Especially the subway incident-that really hit me hard. But thats what made it such a good book, I felt that I was there with him seeing all of this happen. I'll give it five stars here only because I can't go any higher!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Well Written and Informative!, October 22, 2010
I could not put this book down wondering what was going to happen next to the author. The book was a roller coaster ride dealing with life issues. This book was well written, and I would recommend this book to family and friends.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - OH MY GOD!, September 15, 2010
OH MY GOD! This book is fantastic! Like others have said, you just can not put it down once you've started reading it! It's powerful and funny at times (to me anyway). I've almost finished the book but don't want it to end. You know how it is when you find a book you love. Everyone should read this. It's a Gem! A Hit!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - A Must Read!! August 13, 2010
This is an exceptional piece, wonderful quality of writing with content that is just as superb. As a writer, I read constantly; all types of books and novels, this book is on the top of my list. As you read you may discover that you are faced with your own, "skeletons in the closet". Be assured that you are never alone. This book is an example of how great people can do not-so great things while situations spiral out of control. This book is inspiring and displays determination. This is a must read for all ages and all lifestyles. How many people can say, "I have lived two totally different lives... in one lifetime."?
An Excellent Read!!!
Susan T. Giordano, NYC
Author of "At Least I Don't Talk In My Sleep"
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Hard Hitting Right Away! Nov 9, 2010
Wow! It just boggled my mind reading this book. It's pretty hard hitting right away. You get to feel the streets and the whole vibe, and envisioning these people, including the author. Pretty cool. Gritty, down and dirty right away. It grabs you!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - I Absolutely Loved It!, October 22, 2010
This book written by Jerry Castaldo is an awesome book. The book drew me in and I could not stop thinking about him and what he has gone through. I am totally amazed at how he turned his life around from the drinking and drugs. It is a soulful and honest account of his life. At times it was just plain scary and other times I just wanted to reach out and hug him. Jerry's writing was able to bring the reader to the scene, to the time, the place and even the song that was popular at the time, which enabled the reader to experience what he was going through. I look forward to more things that Jerry does. Congratulations to Jerry for writing a great book and for turning his life around.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Not for the faint of heart! Sept 1, 2010
Could not put it down. Honest account about a life that started in a place many called home. A story about the journey through pain and disappointment, and coming out on the other side of it. Offers hope to those who are lost, and respect for those who are able to set themselves on a better path.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - The Epitome of Resilience, November 12, 2010
Castaldo's account of his early years makes for a harrowing page-turner. Though repeatedly struck down by either external circumstances or his own demons, Castaldo proves that not accepting defeat builds strength and character. In his unyielding search for a life he could love, Castaldo shares how he evaded obstacles that could put happiness out of his reach. This story details a path that careens around life's pitfalls and though it covers a span of 30ish years it's still highly relevant in today's tumultuous times. I found myself wanting to know more about the tactics employed by Castaldo to rein in his life. I'm hopeful Castaldo will continue to share his life experiences, possibly elaborating on what worked for him in his quest for guidance to a healthy, happy life.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars, Memorable and brave!, November 21, 2010
By Faith Barlow - This review is from: Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective: A Memoir (Paperback)
Jerry's memoir has alot of grit and heart. As many others have said, it is riveting...and one cannot help but to just keep reading. The images and stories stay with the reader long after the book is finished. Kudos to Jerry for having the talent and bravery to write this book and to share his personal journey. I would highly reccomend!!! Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars, A Wild Ride! November 21, 2010
By Fellow Traveler - This review is from: Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective: A Memoir (Paperback)
I had a really hard time putting this down. This book sucked me in from the get go, and gave me a fly on the wall perspective into a harsh world that few of us (fortunately) will ever live in. Mr. Castaldo's honesty is rare. The incredible ups and downs of his life which are so vividly retold here, are both uplifting and devastating to experience. The book reinforced for me the idea that some people are just born lucky and others aren't. Jerry somehow managed to fight through the difficult circumstances of his childhood environment, and the mistakes and bad fortune of his early adult life, and do what people of less character cannot....he survived.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Powerful Writing! Absolutely Superb! Sept 1, 2010
A whirlwind of emotions engulfed me as I read this book. I felt a raw sense of reality, as if I were actually reliving the emotional turmoil the author experienced as a teenager and then as a young man. His knack for describing the events and setbacks that shaped his life, left me feeling empowered and actually inspired me to examine my own life's "hope and dreams." This powerful writing captures the imagination of the reader with it's "sometimes hard to envision" realism. Finally, the determination and relentless efforts made by the author to "escape" his horrible, downward spiral are truly admirable!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Edge of seat reading! Sept 1, 2010
This book will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. It's an amazing story of a young man who chose the wrong path in life and his determination to get where he is today. Jerry takes you on a journey of his life growing up in Brooklyn and all the obstacles he had to overcome. His stories are compelling and somewhat unbelievable. But all true. I highly recommend this book. You won't be disappointed!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - An emotional roller coaster ride! September 13, 2010
There was never a dull moment on this emotional roller coaster ride of Jerry Castaldo's life. This is a very brave and valiant effort to share a story that can conceivably help many others who struggle with addiction. Jerry's candor, wit and humor combined with his easy writing style made it impossible for me to put the book down; I read it in one sitting. I was sorry to see the book end. Kudos to Jerry for having the guts to tell this story. A book of this caliber is quite a surprise from a first time author.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Awards and Applause! August 28, 2010
This is more than a Memoir - it is a powerful and brilliant look inside a human soul. Jerry Castaldo's 'no holds barred' style of writing takes the reader into his world where you live with him through sometimes horrific, sometimes comical, deeply moving and always compelling chapters of a highly textured life. This is an especially revealing example of humanity at it's worst ... and it's BEST! An outstanding debut by a truly talented and gifted author - read this book and marvel!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Deep! November 11, 2010
Engaging and raw. Holding a mirror on society and reflecting the magnitude of man's weakness and then the rebirth of a soul recounting the past life. Deep! You're a warrior in spirit!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Total Page Tuner!!! September 6, 2010
You cannot put this book down. I picked it up and read the entire book into the wee hours of the morning. Jerry has taken a long hard ride through crime, drugs gangs, show biz and a life of addiction and hard knocks and turned it into fine drama and a truly compelling and uplifting memoir. A natural born story teller, Jerry takes the reader on his extraordinary journey from the depths of hell to a life of sobriety and success with uncanny wit , heart and honesty. A must read!!!!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Thank you, Jerry! Sept 6, 2010
It is very rare for me to read a book in one sitting, but Jerry's wonderful book was able to accomplish what few can. Once you start reading this well-written, thoughful and honest autobiography, you can not stop. It follows Jerry through most of his life, without reliquishing its thesis from beginning to end. The reader encounters someone who struggles with life on a terrifying level, which we can all relate to on a certain level. It is written for all to enjoy and actually allows us to learn a little about ourselves. The honesty and vivid detail add to the pure enjoyment of reading the book. You will continue to think about the book long after you have finished it. I truly could not give any other book I have read a better review.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - From Scuzz..To A BRAND NEW BUZZ!, September 28, 2010
Honesty Makes Jerry Castaldo's Memoir a Treasure. "Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective", this is not a ghost written PR piece of fluff composed in order to promote an entertainer and drive ratings. Rather, it's a biography of a life that at one drug induced point was deemed by its owner not even worth living. A volatile 'Cocktail' of Intelligence,Drive, Talent and INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNIIES .. combined with hellish Alcohol and other Drug abuse that culminates in waste and disaster. WARNING: Although, this book is a Jewel, it is not necessarily for the skittish, so to speak. "Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective", is exactly what its title suggests,Grim! You'll be frustrated, angry and overwhelmed with sadness reading this open, plainly written, extremely brave diary/memoir. This book is NOT a rags to riches piece of fiction. It is a must read to everyone that is living their life's as we all must, one day at a time. Jerry, YOU'RE A MENCH!! Thank you for this birthing,this labor of love.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Encore Encore ..... Bring on the Sequel!!! September 14, 2010
While I love reading, I must admit I have a bad habit of starting but not finishing a book. Not only did I definitely finish Brooklyn NY A Grim Retrospective by Jerry Castaldo, but I did so in record time, by repeatedly staying awake far beyond midnight. I truly couldn't put it down! Jerry's accounting of his life, his struggles, his disappointments, his desperation, his determination and, most importantly, his resiliency is absolutely captivating. It must have been excruciatingly difficult to "relive" the painful events that shaped this man's past, but Jerry did so with a style of writing that made you feel every emotion, every injury, and he even found humor in some things, ... once he had survived the moment. I found myself cringing (most of the time)as well as laughing out loud, .... a nice source of relief, which was appreciated to off-set the seriousness of such a troubled existence. Having had the opportunity of meeting Jerry in 2003 when he performed locally, I would never have imagined this polished, happy, talented, good looking man with a fabulous personality and positive outlook on life could have possibly evolved from the troubled young man brilliantly depicted and shared in this "confession". I find the generosity of the author to reveal the privacy of his past in order to hopefully help someone in the future, remarkably outstanding and I sincerely applaud him! I definitely encourage the writing of the sequel, so that we can also know the development of the successful Jerry Castaldo, the one with the smile that doesn't stop!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Empowering and Well Written! Sept 2, 2010
This book is profoundly moving. Page after page evokes different emotions and speaks clearly to the human spirit. An author who wrote a best seller many years ago was told "This is not your book anymore". Well, Jerry Castaldo, I must say, my sentiments exactly. This is not your book anymore, it belongs to the world! Brilliant.
Amazon.com Review - 5 out of 5 stars - A Grim But Real Retrospec! November 22, 2010
Having been a teenager who lived and hung out in the locations which Jerry depicts so accurately in his descriptions of the homes, apt. buildings, clubs, parks, hitters and cousines (as we called them) this book offers the encouragement to teens and others who may feel "no way out" because of their life's misfortunes, be it, drugs, gangs, violence, school or poverty. Bravo Jerry!
Amazon.com Review - 5 out of 5 stars - Not a reader but loved this book! November 22, 2010
By Casey Caterino - This review is from: Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective: A Memoir (Paperback)
I'm not a big reader, but after receiving this book as a gift, I knew after the first couple of pages that I would love it! It's an easy read and I loved the real life aspect of it. I couldn't put it down!! This is a MUST READ!!
Amazon.com Review - 5 out of 5 stars - Honest, Gripping, Memoir!, November 21, 2010
By Shelley "shell1234" (Bedford Hills, NY United States)
This book was amazing! I started it today and could not put it down until I finished it. The details and descriptions in this book were not sugarcoated at all , it was brutally honest and extremely well written. It saddened me to read some of the details of Jerry's early life. I felt bad that anyone had to live a life so filled with anger, violence,drugs, and alcohol.
He turned his life around and is now a successful performer living his dream. That should be an inspiration to anyone! There are so many messages in this book. I encourage everyone to read this wonderful memoir.
Amazon Review - 5 out of 5 stars - Saved my Life & Mind, November 26, 2010
By Lorraine - This is a great true story that i have read in a long time & in just one day. The memoirs of his life stayed on my mind & i thought, if he made it thru all those obstacles so will i in my life. thanks JERRY
Amazon Review - 5 out of 5 stars - Amazing Journey! November 26, 2010
By Ron S. - Jerry Castaldo's book is an amazing journey. I can only begin to imagine what Jerry went through in your life and then to have to "relive" it all again for the writing of the book. It is sad, touching, painful, hopeful, funny, heartbreaking, redeeming and so moving. What he had to overcome and struggle with daily is astounding. I highly recommend this astounding book that chronicles one man's journey through life.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - A Great Book! November 21, 2010
By Donna Del - This review is from: Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective: A Memoir (Paperback)
Terrific! Did not put this book down until I reached the last page. Totally mesmerizing. I can read this book over and over again and it will still be as enjoyable as the first time I read it.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Brave & Frightening! September 10, 2010
Jerry Castaldo's memoir proves that even in seemingly quiet middle class neighborhoods bad things happen to good kids. His story is both brave and frightening; It is brave because we witness first hand the years of trials and tribulations it took to kick his addictions; and we are frightened to know what could have been. I read each chapter clinging to hope that he would make it out of the darkness of addiction and get it right. I wondered how much strength he needed to travel this arduous journey in pain, and alone. I am completely astounded that while his body was often wounded, his spirit was never destroyed, and is what finally brings him peace. This is a MUST read for my two college kids and teenager who think this could never happen to them.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - BROOKLYN: A GRIM RETROSEPCTIVE, September 18, 2010
This is a harrowing ride as is the rollercoaster at Brooklyn's Coney Island. Many calm and rewarding ups with numerous frightening (and near fatal) downs.. Mr. Castaldo writes openly hiding nothing and takes the reader with him as his companion through his nightmarish life's journey. Just as one starts rejoicing and feeling happy for him thinking "ah,he's found his Nirvana and peace at last,the inevitable demons are there once again knocking at his door entering his new found successful life,only to bring him yet again on a downward slide straight to the pits of hell.. One must read this story if they feel that their life has been tough. You won't say that anymore when you read what Jerry Castaldo went through but managed to overcome despite all the tremendous adversities and addictions..and he's now a very successful performer who many famous celebrities choose to have as their opening act throughout the country.Its an exciting tale that one won't want to put down.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational - Motivational and Heart-warming! Sept 18, 2010
I'm one who can read a book in a week or two. Jerry Castaldo's memoir was finished by me in less than two days. Jerry opens up about his personal encounters with substance addiction and the slippery slope that accompanies it. He holds back nothing - sharing his life's obstacles and turbulances. This is indeed a can't-put-it-down book. As a recreation therapist working in the addictions field, I recommend this to anyone who has personally experienced the chaos and drama that the disease of addiction brings about. This is one book you don't want to miss!!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Would Make a Great Movie!!! August 17, 2010
Very compelling read. Every emotion is felt reading this memoir, from sad to happy to disturbing to comical. I found it hard to put down. Would make a GREAT movie. I would recommend this read to anyone.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Powerful and inspirational - Captures you from Page 1!, September 26, 2010
I wasn't sure at first if I would like this story because I grew up in a totally different atmosphere although more or less the same era. From the very first page I was drawn to his story and kept reading because I felt his emotions jumping out from the pages; making me to want to know what happened to him next, what forces shaped his life, and how it would all turn out. Jerry is a real person who writes from the heart and in his struggles and successes he delivers an inspirational message that we can change for the better; sometimes through our own sheer will, and other times with the help of others.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Didn't want this book to end!
I really enjoyed reading this book and I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed to see it end. I was hooked and would have stayed with it even if it went another 100 pages! I guess people will be as interested as I am in a sequel that describes how life is "now" for the author. This book touched me in many different ways and I laughed, cried and reflected on my own life while reading some passages. It's hard to describe this book as there are so many things that happen to the author on so many fronts. I've read other memoirs and this was definitely the best one so far.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Raw Emotion! August 31, 2010
Talk about raw emotion and reading somebodys tragedys just baring your soul on paper, Jerry is the prime example of how people can change for the better that it is never too late. A gripping story, I wanted to jump back in time and be his friend to help him out of his own way.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Critics #1 choice, and I'm the Critic! August 31, 2010
Critics choice #1 on my Book Club List!!! Jerry Castaldo I applaude you! Jerry dug down to the depth of his soul and explored his emotional past in print. Walking with him thru the streets of Brooklyn, probably at the same exact time he did, I relived treasured memories as well as the hell of addictions. Jerry is living proof that one must continue to struggle until we see the light... Thank you Jerry for opening up your heart to us all. A big fan!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - A Must Read! August 31, 2010
What a great look back to when we were kids. Such memories of good and rough times. the author is living proof that you can make it in life if you want to. It's all about the choices you make. I enjoyed the book very much and I recommend that everyone read it!!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Gripping stories, starting with the first page! December 18, 2010
Honestly, after someone recommended this book to me, I had it sitting on a shelf for over two weeks as I just couldn't find the time to read it. But I am so glad that I decided to "peek" at it and then continued on. I just couldn't stop. These "amazing" stories categorized by date, the authors age and what songs were number one on the radio in the US at the time, makes you think back and say "wow, I know exactly what I was doing when that was happening to him." I was doing that during every story. I was truly inspired by this guy's story and it gave me a boost of confidence about what I could accomplish in my own life despite obstacles. Great book!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Awesome!!! August 9, 2010
OMG, this book made me have so many emotions. I cried, I laughed. I was so scared for him. But it's so true that no matter what, you can always follow your dreams. I could not put this book down until i was done. I felt as though I was with him every step of the way. It really touched me in so many ways. It is fascinating! I will read it again and again!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Inspiring!, August 6, 2010
Starting with the opening pages through to the very end, this book is a fast-paced, wonderful read! So much more than simply the story of one individual's life, this book details a journey that touches your heart ... Inspiring! Life's dark side illuminated by hope ... Thank you for this book ... Everyone should have the opportunity to read this!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Brave and bold! August 26, 2010
Jerry spills his guts - literally. Its a smart, compelling, edge-of-your-seat story of an amazing guy. If it weren't so well written from the heart, you almost wouldn't believe his often harrowing life, the near-misses, etc., but Jerry lets you look into his heart and you know its true. I highly recommend this illuminating, riveting book. Wow!!Very well written.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - An Absolute Page Turner! August 24, 2010
This book was given to me by a friend. I felt obligated to read it so I opened the front cover and began my journey through the life of Jerry Castaldo. Many books cannot keep my attention, but this story unfolding was like opening a box of chocolates... each chapter a new surprise, curious to see what's inside... I could not stop! I found myself laughing out loud literally and I also felt his despair. I took this ride through Jerry's life with him as he shared his thoughts, his actions, his emotions... I could identify with him, although my life has been very mundane in comparison. I felt a connection with him as he struggled to overcome a lifelong habit of self-destruction, at the same time holding on to hope, with strength and determination to triumph and win! This true story is a great read, wonderful entertainment, and at the same time a real life inspiration. You cannot get anymore honest than this. Reading this book is truly an experience!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - A Must Read! August 26, 2010
This is a coming of age story about a kid growing up in Brooklyn, who took a couple of wrong turns which put him on a road none of us would like to travel. But moreso, it's story about hope and redemption and determination to succeed. I read it in one sitting, because at the end of every chapter I was either too worried, or hopeful, about the next phase of the author's life to not continue! It is a compelling and emotional read and I highly recommend it!
Amazon.com - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Home Run!! August 26, 2010
Score one for Jerry Castaldo and New York.This book is a "home run" taking the reader around the bases of Castaldo's life on the streets of Brooklyn and him rising to being one of the best all around entertainers in NYC. From mob-run streets in Brooklyn, to the stage, Castaldo was able to get his life on track and win critical acclaim as a singer and all around entertainer.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - A life story that will captivate you, inspire you and astound you. August 26, 2010
This is more than just a typical biography. It is a life story that will captivate you, inspire you and astound you. It is from the heart and soul of Jerry Castaldo. It is written with passion, humor and haunting stories that tell so much about an inner struggle to find outward peace. It is truly one book you will never forget. Thank you Jerry for sharing your life...page by page.
Amazon.com - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Grabs you and you'd better hang on! August 26, 2010
Well, I must say that Mr. Castaldo has certainly lived a fascinating life. I like the style of his writing. It flows so realistically, grabs you and you'd better hang on. I honestly enjoyed the rhythm of his writing and the realism of his stories.
Linda Rainwater, PH.D
Prof. of Literature, University of VA
Author of "The Second Milagro"
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Very strong and compelling read! August 28, 2010
The author's writing in this book is captivating! The portrayal of his experience after arriving at the Manhattan VA is vivid, strong and compelling. He manages to endow his words with meaning and with feeling. He brings the reader with him to the scene ... to the time, the place ... enabling us to experience his myriad of emotions. Reading this book, I felt sadness for the author and a sense of despair for the human condition. The ending, while intensifying those feelings, ultimately leaves me with an awareness of being grateful to know that people "can" overcome extremely difficult life experiences. Impressive.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - An Inspiration!, November 19, 2010
Wow! I applaud this author for openly and honestly sharing the trials, tribulations, and exploits of his early life. This was an amazing read. What a story to say the least. It will typically take me weeks to read a book. I read this one in a weekend. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next. Jerry Castaldo lived life on the edge. With the language and explicit detail I could actually vision his perils. This is a well written book with just the right amount of detail to let you visulize his journey. This is a Must Read Book! I think Jerry Castaldo's story should be an inspiration to everyone. No matter how down and out you feel, no matter how horrible you think life is, don't ever give up on yourself.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Heartfelt, honest and brave! August 21, 2010
I grew up with Jerry and I can tell you that this is all true. It was a professional leap of faith, and I think it was worth the risk. Excellent read! Kudos to you Jerry!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Universal Yet Unique! August 14, 2010
Jerry Castaldo has given us all a powerful journey through the first half of his life that can ring true in many ways for all of us. Yet, with his down to earth honesty and eloquence, he has shared the unique experiences that take guts, soul searching, and heart to share with the world. We can all look at ourselves and our lives a little more honestly thanks to Jerry. Great food for thought for everyone.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Lives up to the hype! August 6, 2010
After reading this book to see what all the excitement was about, and then giving it some thought, I have decided that it is the subject matter of Jerry Castaldo's stories which elicits the emotional response. His introductory image of the 'good child', the innocence of the 'altar boy', creates the empathetic character, the 'that was me' personage, who then is thrust into the neighborhood environment (which was the world for so many of us), and so must develop certain 'survival skills' which ultimately evolve into the events related in his writing. Jerry, the necessary 'hero' figure of this non-fiction novel, represents all of us, touches a cord of recognition in us. Yet, while there is a resemblance, a correlation of experience, he is the extraordinary figure. His life experiences become the heightened reality which makes the reading compelling and keeps the reader involved. I really enjoyed this book.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Had me hook, line and sinker! 9-1-2010
I had a feeling I shouldn’t start reading this book tonight. I got up to “The Mob, The Bookie and the Leisure Suits” by 3 am, and I have to say, it had me "hook, line and sinker"!...I could not stop reading....It’s one of those "CAN'T PUT IT DOWN" kind of books... Coming from all of that in his early years is really insane! You'd think that one or two of his experiences in a lifetime are enough, but all of that! It’s startling, emotional, heart wrenching (for him and his family), sad and a “self-help like” type of book. I think it's great! I love the humor in between the lines. Just as you get choked up or your eyes widen, he makes you laugh, so it's still entertaining too! I highly recommend it!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - An Amazing Journey to Recovery! September 29, 2010
I started reading this and began to realize that this was not going to be like any other book I have ever read. The storyline kept pulling me further into the book and I found that I didnt want to stop reading it until I read it all. It felt as if the author was right there telling me his story and you can feel the emotions in every chapter. There was a very strong message in this story and after reading it I felt so inspired to live my life to the fullest. I compared my life the what the author went through and realized that as much as I thought life was sometimes a struggle, it was not at all as bad as I percieved it to be. The way that he endured so much gives light to the strength of our power in overcoming anything with commitment, persistence and personal sacrifice. The lesson can be applied to any aspect of life including relationships, business and personal growth. This is a must read book and virtually anyone can apply the lessons herein to their own lives. Thank you Mr. Castaldo for bearing your soul in such an expression of honesty and inspiration.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Wow!!! August 30, 2010
What a great story!! I couldn't put the book down to see what happened next!!!!! In conclusion , the story tells you about the power of a man's soul to rise above all circumstances and situations. Jerry is an inspiration to all of us!! Bravo!!!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Grim Retrospective, but triumpant ending! September 1, 2010
Even though I no longer live in Brooklyn, I grew up there, and although I didn't know the author growing up, after reading about some of his escapades, I can say that I grew up with plenty of people like him. The stories hit close to home. Halfway thru the book you think you are reading the memoirs of a young man with a future as a career criminal, and then you see how a person can turn his life around. Good job!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Very Touching, Definitely not boring, Would be a great"movie"!!, December 17, 2010
So I was given the opportunity to read "Brooklyn,NY: A Grim Retrospective" and I honestly have to say I never thought it would be as interesting as it was. You just want to keep reading and not stop! It's definitely not boring and it will make you laugh and at times make you feel sad. It's amazing to read about a young boy battle with all these troubles and finaly realize there are no more "monsters" and that someone was definitely looking out for him. The author should be proud of what he has accomplished. I think it would be a great movie!!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Getting out alive! August 27, 2010
A gritty, hard hitting reveiw on one man,s life in the big city. The troubles and peer presure to get by and be accepted. The wrong turns and desolate path's that are taken. Some never return, this one did. The shocking story of life in brooklyn in the 70s and Jerry's fight to become who he is today!!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Intriguing peek into a frantic life! December 7, 2010
We all have demons in our closet, but not all of us are strong enough to confront and tame them. Jerry's ability to live through his frantic, self-damaging life and then poetically display it for the world to see is both inspiring and depressing. He is able to keep our interest with teasers and keeps us rooting for him to make it through yet another chapter of his life alive, in one piece and out of jail. I would like to congratulate him for finding his true, beautiful spirit and thank him for sharing all his angels and devils with us. Lessons learned! Keeping the faith!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Hard to put down! September 1, 2010
Once I started reading this book, I didn't stop. Being a Brooklynite myself, I could easily identify with the trials and tribulations of growing up there. The book made me want more.Something like when the Sopranos ended! This book is highly recommended, it's a wild ride!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Exciting and couldn't put it down! Sept 6, 2010
Shocking but funny at times, and also a bit scary. It ultimately shows that people can turn their lives around if they really want to and they don't give up. It actually feels like a self-help book because it's inspiring. I loved it!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Honest and well written! September 12, 2010
Jerry is honest and to the point about his life in Brooklyn.....growing up with Jerry,i really enjoyed reading his book......he has come a long way in his life and deserves all the good things in it. We were just teenagers and Jerry invited us over to his home one day to have a couple of beers, so im in one room and i hear music in his living room. There's Jerry playing acoustic guitar and then jumps to the piano and starts singing. Nobody was more shocked than me because i thought Jerry was a total street wise guy I am very proud of my friend Jerry and all his accomplishments and he even pulls off a well written book. Keep shocking me, my friend. Louis Spitalieri
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - How Proud I am of Jerry! Sept 6, 2010
Watching Jerry grow up was quite a ride. You would never believe where he was from especially if you see him now. What a man, what a heart, watch out world you aint seen nothing yet....
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - A Great Mixed Bag! Excellent! September 20, 2010
In a nutshell, here it is. The talent of this author: His ability to evoke the reader's emotion. My Observation: These stories seem to pour out of a great depth and with a rush.... An excellent book.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - It makes you think... September 8, 2010
I really enjoyed this book. The way each chapter begins brought me back to exactly what was happening in my own life at that time. Thanks for the ride Jerry and good luck to ya!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Can't Wait for the Movie!, October 16, 2010
I give the author a lot of credit for baring his soul and sharing it with the world in such an honest fashion. It's a brave piece of writing. Full of personal disasters and triumphs. While reading this great book about a man who overcomes his demons all I could think about was what an awesome movie this man's story would make. Scorsese would direct. Zachary Quinto would play the Author.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Excellent!, October 20, 2010
The book was excellent. I couldn't put the book down. A must read!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - A Non-Grim Review! September 8, 2010
An evincible narrative of growing up in Brooklyn. A riveting story in which Jerry rescues himself through sage decisions. An excellent read....
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Thanks for the thrill! September 8, 2010
I must say, I really enjoyed this book. I said I would start reading it while sitting by the pool, but instead started the night before and just couldn't put the book down. Jerry takes you step by step, through the days of crime and drugs and then finally to a better life made through better decisions. Great book!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Out of the Sludge... September 14, 2010
This autobiography was one that showed great courage and determination to finally walk out of the sludge of life and start clean. Jerry Castaldo's book was read with the ease of sitting in front of a personal best friend and hearing his life struggles as well as accomplishments! I sat down to read it and didn't get up until I was finished. A powerful book which has proven to me once again, that there are many times in our lives that the mountain we have to move is OURSELVES! Thank you , Jerry for sharing your story with me!
Amazon.com Review - 5 out of 5 stars - Great reading!, November 28, 2010
By Ed Stimler - Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective: A Memoir
Very fast reading. Takes me back to my youth in Brooklyn. Great book!!!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Brooklyn NY: A Grim Retrospective: A Memoir, November 17th, 2010
The book was well written, at times i felt sad for the author especially dealing with his addictions. He his truly blessed to be here today.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Gritty and a Real Story of Triumph!, October 2, 2010
This book is a no holds barred gritty real life story of a kid from Brooklyn who was able to overcome a life of hard core addictions to rise to become a successful entertainer. Being from Brooklyn myself and living through the same times Jerry relates in his book I can see many of my old friends and people from the neighborhood in his story. However, not many of them overcame it as Jerry did. You will really enjoy the real feel of his writing, the honesty and openess that he has the courage to write with, and feel his many ups and downs along with him. I read it in two days. You just can't put it down. It has my full recommendation.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Scary Reality!, October 6, 2010
Having know Jerry personally since 1980, I know first hand how out of control he was. I watched him turn his life around, and I was so excited to read his story. Great reading.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - MEMOIR OF A YOUNG BOY ON THE STREETS OF BROOKLYN, Sept 24, 2010
It was truly an honor to review "Brooklyn, New York: A Grim Respective: A Memoir", by Jerry Castaldo. Brooklyn born and bred, Mr. Castaldo is a highly respected musical entertainer, show host and Master of Ceremonies. His great talent caught the eye of C. Gerald Fraser (New York Times) and Curt Davis (New York Post) with glowing words of praise such as: "Mr. Castaldo brings talent, enthusiam and energy to his work" and"Mr. Castaldo is one of the best all-around entertainers in New York City". And now, Mr. Castaldo can add the title of "author" to his list of many accomplishments. He has chosen to write a memoir of his young days on the streets of Brooklyn. The black & white photograph on the book cover of his memoir reveals a handsome young man standing in front of his boyhood apartment building. This nostalgic image beckons to you to step inside and take a journey with Mr. Castaldo to a day-gone-by. He wants to share those days with you and effectively does so in his very heartfelt, well-written memoir. Please take Mr. Castaldo's hand and let him lead you back-in-time to his youth on the dark streets of Brooklyn, New York. I wish to personally recommend "Brooklyn, New York: A Grim Respective: A memoir" to the landmark Grand Army Plaza Brooklyn Library for catalog consideration. It will be my pleasure to do so. Irene Brodsky, Teacher of Literature, Brooklyn College City University of N.Y."
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars -Jerry opens his life to others! Unbelievable book!!! September 12, 2010
Many people do not want to disclose their personal lives to others. Jerry Castaldo, performer and entertainer, takes a stand and shares the reality of the biggest struggle of his life, addiction. You will be taken by this book after the first page. It is extremely easy to read you will breeze right through it. For those of you who do know Jerry, this book is written like Jerry talking! He is an inspiration to anyone who is stuggling to overcome the disease of addiction. If you don't know Jerry you will feel like you know him by the end of book and want to see him entertain at his next show.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Gripping and Exciting! October 9, 2010
Although I am a very slow reader, I could not put this book down so I read it in super quick time. It is gripping and exciting! you wonder what will happen next, and end up thinking - 'how is Jerry still alive'?. It is a miracle!! I think his Angel was looking after him!!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Interesting from cover to cover! December 13, 2010
I couldn't put this book down. So well written and interesting that I kept reading without stopping until the end. I've known Jerry for a few yrs. and never knew what he went through. Thanks for sharing your story Jerry. Keep performing and smiling!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Excellent! December 13, 2010
Completely appreciate the honesty - moving, and absolutely kept me interested from beginning to end! Terrific Book!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Great book. Wow!
I have to agree with all of the reviews this book has received. Very compelling and well-written. The only thing I found was that the title can throw you off a bit. When I first saw this book, I imagined it was some sad story about "Brooklyn NY", the place. After I looked down on the front cover and saw the word "Memoir", only then did I realize what it might be about. I'm as so happy that I read this book. It was not only entertaining, but I found it to be very inspirational. It kept my interest because it "never" lets up. It was a rapid fire pace of stories and scenarios and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. Very moving emotionally too! I bought several copies of this book as holiday gifts.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Action, drama, lost love, inspiration, additction. This book has it all!
This book is extremely interesting and gives the reader a sense of anticipation and thrill. I really, really loved it! To my surprise, I read the whole thing in two days. I just couldn't stop. It was simply amazing and although quite a sad story at times, I still found myself laughing out loud at some sections. I'm recommending this book!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Excellent book! Just bought the Kindle version too!
I read the paperback version of this book and I REALLY loved it! Great stories. So, since I now have a Kindle device and noticed that this book was available in this format too, I bought it. The formatting of the text is perfect as I've noticed some problems with other Kindle versions of other books. Good work getting this digital version right!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Outstanding Book!
I have this book, have started reading it for the second time and now found out it is on Kindle. This book by Jerry Castaldo will draw you in as you read his stories. It is an outstanding book and well written. A great book that is hard to put down.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - Funny and tragic. What more can you ask for?
Wasn't sure what to expect from this book. Glad I read it though as it had elements that had me laughing my butt off (maybe it's just my twisted humor?) and it was also able to bring a tear to my eye (ok, there, I'll admit it). What this guy went through and how he was able to write it down is just incredible to me. Very honest and no phony baloney. As others have said, inspirational. I'm recommending it.
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - I thought I new this guy. Ok, so I was wrong.
Although I never really talked to this guy who wrote this book except for a hello on the street here and there when we were kids, I did grow up in the same neighborhood and knew a bit about his reputation as a wild kid, which made me sort of shy away from wanting to associate with him. What was so amazing to read here though were his very private, personal thoughts and how he was able to be completely honest about what was going on in his head during his teenage years and beyond. It struck me as I was reading this great book that sometimes we think we know people and this book proves that we can be so wrong. I actually just went to Jerry's website and emailed him to congratulate him on this book. My wife is now reading it and loves it too!
Amazon.com Review - 5.0 out of 5 stars - WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!*****5 STARS!!!!!!!!!!!
WOW! I recieved this book as a gift and honestly wasn't really sure what to expect. Then, I began reading and was completely surprised in a wonderful way. The imagery, the honesty, I felt like the author was speaking directly to me in a honest-to-God, down-to-earth way. Jerry Castaldo's story touched me in many ways. However, two in particular I'd really like to mention. Firstly, as a fellow entertainer, Jerry struck a chord in me that sparked a sense of camaraderie, as he described how difficult our field show business can be. Secondly, as a woman, I was thrilled to have a glimpse into the honest emotions of a real man behind the "tough guy" image men sometimes have to project. Bottomline, run out and get this book for the thrill, the adventure and a MUST for every girl who loves a bad boy with a soft side!!!!
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