Mickey Fine, the narrator and hero of this story, is a tumler, an entertainer at a Catskills hotel, during its heyday. Gorlicks’s is an upstate hotel with a twist, hosting Jewish Mafia families and serving as a meeting place for the top echelon in the organization. The tumler must keep the wives happy and busy with activities while not getting too involved personally. Mickey falls for Mutzie Feder, a former good girl who became the girlfriend of one of the big gangsters and that’s when the trouble begins. The description of how the hotel is run is very believable and the typical humorous banter entertaining. The characters speak exaggerated Brooklyn-ese throughout and the dialogue is slightly repetitive, but I enjoyed reading about this period. There is some graphic violence and a love story with a few glitches before the happy ending. I recommend this book as a quick and fun read.
Miriam Bradman Abrahams is a Cuban-born, Brooklyn-raised, Long Island-residing mom. She is Hadassah Nassau’s One Region One Book chairlady, a freelance essayist, and a certified yoga instructor who has loved reviewing books for the JBC for the past ten years.