The first several stories were fine. Not bad, although I found them to be hard to believe and really hard to care about. Then I came upon the story, “Liner Notes: The Songs of Billy Bathgate”. I didn’t like Billy Bathgate when I was forced to read it in high school and I can’t imagine why the author had to continue it with a short story. I wished I’d skipped it. I didn’t, however. All I thought about while I read that tripe was that I wish someone would just put a bullet in Billy Bathgate’s head and get this over with. Needless to say, I couldn’t continue with the book after that story. Life is to short to waste time on bad literature. I didn’t see the movie version, but looked it up on the Internet. It sounds like it would have been really good. Since Doctorow distanced himself from the film, it must have been outstanding.
I did glance toward the back of the book, just picking out a page or two here or there and happened upon a story that looked promising, “The Writer in the Family”. I read that and can honestly say that one was pretty good, not good enough for me to continue reading the book, but at least there was one redeeming story in the book.
If you have “all the time in the world” and absolutely nothing better to do with your time, and your thinking of taking a nap, this would be the perfect book for you.