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Eddie's Bastard: A Novel

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  974 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
"Eddie's Bastard" is William Amos Mann IV, known as Billy -- the son of a heroic pilot killed in Vietnam and an unknown woman. The last in a line of proud, individualistic Irish-American men, Billy is discovered in a basket at the door of the dilapidated mansion where his bitter, hard-drinking grandfather, Thomas Mann, has exiled himself. Astonished and moved by the arriva ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,523)
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Nov 07, 2012 G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourites, angst
Remarkable. One of the best books I've read so far. On rare times, slight repitition, otherwise nothing to complain about. Hilarious, moving and with depth. Although I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who aren't comfortable with sexual references, for there are several throughout the book. (To the point of disturbing, in fact.)

Eddie's Bastard is a book about the life of Billy Mann, from the day he was born to adolescence. He was a 'bastard', born illegitimate, his father had died and her mother
Alex Hoshor
Jul 13, 2012 Alex Hoshor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is hilarious. The first ten or so pages, I thought, were very amateurishly written. Like it was a tenth grade creative writing assignment, written by a damn tenth grader! I mean, I thought I was walking into a real shit trap. But then poof (splat?), it just got good. Then pretty great. Then back to good, great, good... I’m flopping around on this one, okay? Oh how I hate it when other people do this, but oh golly I’d probably really give it 3.64 stars but rounded up because besides being an ...more
Mar 28, 2016 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-bookclub
Billy Mann is Eddie's bastard. After being abandoned on the steps of his paternal grandfather's house as an infant, Billy's lives a very isolated life with a grandfather who clings to his bottle and his family stories and ghosts, waiting for the arrival of a Japanese soldier who has had possession of an important family diary since their days together awaiting rescue on South Pacific island after an air battle during World War II. Billy's father Eddie was killed in Vietnam, never indicating to a ...more
Nov 25, 2011 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
His name is William Amos Mann IV, and he is Eddie’s bastard. Billy Mann’s life began with abandonment by his mother, and his story maintains a high level of interest since that moment. Billy, whose father, Eddie, was killed in Vietnam, is raised by his grandfather in the Mann’s ancestral home. This home, you see, is occupied by ghosts and a rich history of the Mann family. As he grows up, Billy learns his history from his grandfather’s stories and the ghosts that haunt his home.

Did I tell you th
Aug 29, 2015 Siv30 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
הממזר של אדי – ויליאם קובלסקי.
הוצאת כנרת , 2002 , 471 עמ'

תיאור סיפור חיו של בילי מאן , שזור בקורותיהם של 3 דורות במשפחת מאן –
האב : אדי, טייס שנהרג במלחמת ויאטנם.
הסב : תומס , יזם כושל לשעבר , מובטל ושיכור בהווה (מגדל את הילד).
סבא רבא : וילי , מייסד שבט מאן , חייל לשעבר, פילוסוף והוגה לעת מצוא.

בתרבות , וביהדות יש משמעות למילה ממזר – ילד שנולד לאישה נשואה מאחד שאינו בעלה – לכן, כאשר קוראים את ההתחלה של הספר לא ברור מדוע הספר נקרא "הממזר של אדי" ובכלל מדוע מכונה הילד ממזר ולא סתם " הילד של אדי מחוץ
Steven Buechler
Mar 07, 2016 Steven Buechler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Readers are vaulted in the life of Billy Mann as he is deposited on the doorstep of his grandfather’s decrepit estate in New York state. We follow Billy’s twist and turns from his infancy to his childhood to his teenage years. He experiences the usual items and chaos that occur to any male during that period of life but he also must endure questions about his troubled background, which make for a gripping drama.
Apr 17, 2013 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't often rate Reader's Digest's books so high, but then again, I rarely come across one worth reading. Eddie's Bastard was a simple story about a boy who is orphaned on his grandpa's steps as a baby. When he is found by his alcoholic grandfather, it changes their lives. The old man struggles to regain himself and his family, the boy struggles to find himself and his family. Together, they fail and succeed.

What struck me most about this story is that it didn't end on necessarily a happy not
Bill Krieger
I really like the first half of Eddie's Bastard. It's deliberate (aka slow) and totally focused on describing a few characters: Billy Mann, his grandfather, his friend Annie, etc. I don't mind a slow pace when I'm getting character depth, and that's the case here. It's interesting!

This QOTD shows the ideal setup that Billy has growing up alone with his grandpa. Lots of freedom and fried baloney sandwiches. It's guy nirvana!


I hadn't seen Grandpa all morning, but that was nothing unusual. Som
Stephen V.
Oct 07, 2013 Stephen V. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read, with enough depth to make me pay attention and plenty of quirk to satisfy my quirk-tooth. I particularly like the way Kowalski deconstructs stereotypical devices and offers up a fresh take on Willie's coming of age story. It's not without flaws, in that some threads remain underdeveloped, and some drag in the final third, but the excellent final scenes make up for much of it. Recommended. Great voice, interesting characters and a meaningful journey with a nice mix of light a ...more
Dave Venter
Sep 16, 2014 Dave Venter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book detailing the life of a boy abandoned by his mother on the front doorstep of his late father's father (grandfather). It is a very insightful book. Endearing, funny thought-provoking and very mature. Hard to believe it was written by an author who was only 28 years old. A really great debut novel by William Kowalski. I will look out for more of his works. I strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story to read.
interesting premise, disappointing finish - or should I say lack of finish. Felt like there was a writing deadline that was more important than completing the story.
Mar 05, 2009 RBBiznatch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book contains such realistic and well-described characters that you can't help but care about them. Great story and fun to read.
Jan 02, 2012 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bitter-sweet coming of age story with a touch of mysticism.
Engrossing characters and story from the start. A good read.
Benjamin Kahn
It started off fairly strongly - I was quite enjoying it. The first misstep was when Doctor Connors lectured the protagonist on testerone - its good and bad sides. And then the story just gradually became less interesting. The supporting characters weren't that strong - they kind of popped up when needed and went away when they didn't.

I felt like Kowalski could have taken this story into a lot of interesting areas, but didn't really do anything with it. The mysteries weren't that mysterious, Bi
Ian Mapp
Dec 19, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Normalyn Espejo
Jan 25, 2011 Normalyn Espejo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took a break from reading as you can see from my posts. It was months ago from when I last read. It's just that I got busy, or maybe just got lazy reading. I don't know if this happens to other bookworms too, if not, then I'd feel totally guilty of calling myself as such.

Anyway, as they say, a habit is a habit, so I just suddenly got into reading again! I don't know how it happened but that feeling of me wanting to read just came on suddenly. So, I read the first book I got my hands on and th
Feb 27, 2015 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really should have had a better title, because the word "bastard" is off-putting. This book is a multi-generational family saga told through the life of Billy Mann, Eddie's son. I enjoyed the author's writing style and the inclusion of letters and diary entries to tell the story. Since I have traveled a lot in the geographical setting of most of this book, I found the setting to be especially interesting. The other characters added so much to the story!
Carla Coon
Aug 16, 2014 Carla Coon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got a big kick out of Eddie's Bastard and outright laughed in a couple spots. Loved the roughness of the grandfather and the spunk and matter-of-factness of the kid.
Favorite part was when the crotchety neighbor says, "Billy Mann? Oh, Eddie's bastard." and the kid wonders if the guy had read the note left by his mother on the basket he was found in as an infant. "How else would he know my real name?"
I laughed out loud on that one.
Florence Primrose
Dec 09, 2014 Florence Primrose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eddie's Bastard is the son of a heroic pilot killed in Vietnam. He appeared in a basket on his bitter, hard-drinking grandfather's doorstep as a baby, the last in a line of individualistic American men.

He is raised by his grandfather on love, fried baloney and the stories of their heritage.

This was an interesting delightful novel of discovery and. Young man's emergence in adulthood.
Feb 17, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
This was an entertaining read by an author I was not familiar with until we read it for our book group this month. The characterizations were excellently done,and the author also does a masterful job giving the reader a sense of place for the upstate New York setting of the novel. We did find a few things slightly contrived, but overall it was a good read and we all enjoyed reading it.
Jennifer D
Jan 27, 2015 Jennifer D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a very strong novel about a boy growing up with his grandfather - through whose love the boy's character develops. billy also hears all of the family stories, since he is the last one, in order that he can pass the history along to his own family one day. billy is smart, opinionated, and stands up for what he believes in.
Jenna Mills
I'd actually give this 3 and a half stars. An enjoyable enough tale, with lots of history woven in, making many tales. I felt like there were too many, and I wanted more detail about all of them - to find out more! The ending is entirely unfinished, but all will be revealed in the sequel if I want to read it I suppose. Reminded me a little of a Bryce Courtenay novel...
Pat Smallman
Feb 07, 2016 Pat Smallman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a Grandfather and his grandson. I read it a couple of years ago and loved it. Since then, I read more of his books -- The Good Neighbor, Somewhere South of Here and The Adventures of Flash Jackson. They were okay.
May 27, 2012 Linconter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that you just LOVE to read and don't want to stop, even if it's 2 a.m. and you KNOW you should be sleeping. It's a lovely and heartwarming story about family, love, and acceptance in your place in time, home, and person. A parentless child is brought up in the bosom of a family extended in time and a town that encompasses his family's history, and he learns that he's not alone but very much loved on so many levels. His parents' lives and the lives of his ancestors of g ...more
Beth B
Jun 29, 2012 Beth B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
"This mesmerizing debut novel explores the meaning of family and the role of the individual in the continuum of time, telling the bittersweet story of an old man who raises his illegitimate grandson as the last proud scion of his family."

I almost gave this book 3 stars but was swayed by the other good reviews. The first half of the story moved rather slowly for me. There was definitely a male feel throughout the book. Hoping not to sound sexist, the parts of the book that were somewhat violent a
Jun 21, 2011 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was okay. I do a lot of reading, and I so hate when a book doesn't offer some thing that stands out. The book was an easy read, but I'm sure that I will be hard pressed to remember it. Not sure what the message of this book was or if there even was a message. The style of writing was typical--individual narrator. The one thing that I did find interesting was that "You can't always get what you want, you get what you need" has been a theme in my life as of late, and that quote was print ...more
Julie Atkinson
Sep 06, 2015 Julie Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was very emotional and sad..You could visualize the characters and how life was for them . Being from a small town I understand completely.
Sep 27, 2015 Karyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a well written book from beginning to end, weaving past and present of one family told from the perspective of the Eddie's Bastard.
Kelli Morton
Interesting book. Good ending. There were stories within stories. Occasionally got a little slow but then picked back up.
Jun 18, 2008 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sharon by: book club
I loved this book. Billy and grandpa make quite a pair! Abandoned on his grandfather's door step and tagged with the moniker "Eddie's Bastard," Billy experiences a lonely, isolated childhood, wandering around in the empty old house with only his grandpa and the Mann family ghosts to keep him company. Eventually, Billy befriends Annie Simpson, a 7-year old girl whose poor white trash family is the antithesis of the proud but poor Manns.
Rich oral histories and family storytelling keep the Mann fa
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“The extent of a man’s greatness is determined by his ability to follow his proper direction. We create our own destinies, and yet we do not. We forge a new path as we proceed, and yet the path already exists beforehand, though it is not always well marked. This is the paradox of life; and a paradox is not a riddle to be solved, but a place to dwell in, if only for a brief time.” 2 likes
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