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The Crazyladies of Pearl Street

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  864 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
Trevanian lives in the French Basque region. He is the author of Shibumi, The Eiger Sanction, The Loo Sanction, The Main, The Summer of Katya, Incident at Twenty-Mile, and Hot Night in the City.

From the Hardcover edition.
Audio Cassette, Abridged
Published June 7th 2005 by Random House Audio (first published 2005)
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Jun 27, 2009 Marcie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading other reviews of this book on this website, I feel that I must defend it. First of all, no one should read this book UNLESS they are a Trevanian fan.

To not know him first as the author of "Shibumi," the greatest spy novel ever written, or to not know of his fights with publishers and refusals to do interviews and publicity signings, or to not know that he wrote in different genre under different pseudonyms (which were often an intriguing connecting puzzle of characters' names in ot
Jul 16, 2017 Ayse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
This book is an autobiographical novel about Trevanian's (Rodney William Whitaker (June 12, 1931 – Dec 14, 2005)) childhood (mostly) and also adulthood. His father was a con-man who never took care of his family. He tricked his family and disowned Trevanian and his sister at a very young age. Their mother; a very strong and independent character was inadequate in providing for her children however hard she tried. They lived through the times of depression, WWII and turbulent post-war era. Always ...more
May 18, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I return often to a well-worn theory that says "the world is made of two types of people..." and then you complete the dichotomy with "people who like X, and people who don't." It most commonly comes to mind when thinking about Japan, but now I think about Trevanian in the same way.

I simply can't imagine how one can't read his writing and not think it's as good as anyone can ever write.

Despite the off-putting title, this is just as good as any other of his novels, but its effect is multiplied
Leslie Reese
Apr 23, 2017 Leslie Reese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So....when I was young I hazarded asking my father to talk about his life growing up as a boy in Alabama. He kind of looked at me in a distracted way and kept walking right out of the room, muttering "What do you want to know?"- his voice tinged with irritation.

Well, this book does just the opposite. Trevanian's story is narrated by a young boy growing up in Albany, New York, on the "Irish slum" block of Pearl Street in the 1930s and 40s. It's quite good, but just so long-winded to me, like some
Ann Wilcox
Sep 10, 2010 Ann Wilcox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunate title for a really worthwhile book. The same Trevanian who brought us The Eiger Sanction and The Summer of Katya has written what some say is an autobiographical account of his early years with a less-than-tightly wrapped mother. Great period piece, brilliantly written.
Jun 15, 2008 Reid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a nice book, if a bit snarky, if you know what I mean; which is to say, the author is a bit high on himself, and sometimes his judgments of the world and the people in it are hypercritical, simplistic, and not truly on target. However, I was never less than engaged by this book, and especially relished the background material on the website he published specifically to accompany the book. Don't worry, the book stands alone, but if you want more information on any of the footnotes, the webs ...more
Aug 03, 2009 L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have many favorite book and this is one of them. Luke's mother is abandoned by her husband, shortly after their marriage. He returns once to father Luke's sister and sends the family a note to meet him in Albany. With no money the family moves into a small apartment in the heart of the Irish slum which happens to be on Pearl Street. For a number of years you follow Luke and his family through the Great Depression and World War II. What Luke discovers is that he lives in a neighborhood of crazy ...more
Sep 12, 2010 wally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trevanian
this was the first story by trevanian that i picked up and it wasn't the last. an entertaining read and subsequent reads of all things trevanian have me asking the question: how'd this guy get around so much?

jean-luc lapointe, his little sister and their mother in albany new york. 1936. back in the day. jean-luc's mother is a hoot, believe me you! a phrase she uses. they're all waiting for their ship to come in. the old man has abandoned them and life is hard. things happen. a wonderful cast of
Jun 25, 2010 korey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Man this one was a struggle. I so wanted to like it since it's a story of a boy growing up in the slums of Albany during the Depression and WWII, but it was a total BORE. There was just too much superfluous narrative and not enough dialog or character development. But, what dialog there is was great, I wanted more! I actually skipped and skimmed my way through the last 1/3 of the book - which I never do.
For some reason, I want desperately to like Trevanian. As he says in a note at the beginning of The Crazyladies of Pearl Street, "The Trevanian Buff is a strange and wonderful creature: an outsider, a natural elitist, not so much a cynic as an idealist mugged by reality, not just one of those who march to a different drummer, but the solo drummer in a parade of one.” That pretty much describes least the "parade of one" part...and I am a fallen idealist, too.

His first book, The Eiger Sanc
THE CRAZY LADIES OF PEARL STREET was, for me, a happy trip down memory lane. With references to some of my favorite programs during the golden days of radio…a time when one could escape the boredom of hot summer days by listening to the adventures of “The Green Hornet” or “The Shadow”, when you could ride with the “Lone Ranger and Tonto”, go on “A Date with Judy” or be scared out of your wits by “Inner Sanctum’s” squeaking door or sit in a darkened room listening to “Lights Out”. This story reca ...more
Nov 23, 2011 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Trevanian book I have read and I will have to read another. I loved this book. I thought I was raised poor but I was NOT, compared to little Jean Luke, his mother was a good mother but like all mothers she wasn't perfect. I felt so bad for her and both children. And his father! Wow, I've always been thankful for my wonderful father but never more so than reading every page of this book.

Jean Luke didn't have any friends his own age bc he was his mother "right hand." She used hi
Andrea Lee
Feb 10, 2013 Andrea Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trevanians swan song is a wonderful exploration of pre-adolescent character formation, imagination bending ritual, and a historical stroll through a less explored genre of demographics than your typical depression-era biography. It rocks the neighborhood, exploding bullies and sluts, crazy ladies and lonely, drunk, frightened men alike. There is nothing sacred to the boy or the man he becomes. I love that he spends hundreds of pages on his young life , where he hadfew choices or control, and the ...more
Feb 02, 2009 Peggy added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Honestly this was one of the worst books, I have ever read.
The typographical errors and the inconsistencies of the plot were at best annoying. The author changes descriptions of past events to fit in with whatever story he happens to wander into in that chapter. The father has either left the mother when she is pregnant with Anne-Marie or after she is born depending on which page you are on. The Grandfather either helped out the mother a lot and brought lollipops to Jean-Luc and Anne-Marie or he
I enjoyed this book. I don't know why it's not more popular as a local publication in the Capital District. It's fun to read about such familiar areas as Albany, Troy & Lake George during a time gone-by. I'd recommend this to anyone who would enjoy reading about the Capital District or anyone who enjoys reading about the experiences of others. This novel is autobiographical about a young boy living on South Pearl somewhere between Clinton and Livingston just before and during WWII. He tells ...more
Feb 18, 2008 Cayr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trevanian is a wonderful and intriguing author. This thoroughly enjoyable and mostly autobiographical book was a delightful read, but in a far different way than the author's other books. No international intrigue going on here...just good old immigrant neighborhood intrigue. A wonderful journey into the childhood of a first generation American. The characters were extremely sympathetic. I especially loved the parts where jean-luc is playing by himself: where he is all the actors playing all the ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Tamara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I disagreed with my book club on this one too. They all disliked it, I like it a lot. I thought the characters were interesting and I enjoyed it being from the childs point of view. It was certainly depressing but real and gritty. It took place in Albany in an area I am familiar with since I live nearby so I liked that too. I would recommend it because the book really made me feel like I was right there in the depression as a child figuring out the world. I didn't love the characters necessarily ...more
Barbara Hansen
Jul 30, 2011 Barbara Hansen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a sweet and sticky vision of the past, but it is nostalgic. The setting is the Irish tenement slum of Albany, NY, in the years of the Great Depression and the second World War, the story as seen through the eyes of an incredibly smart young boy. He lives in a grimy, smelly world and longs for a way out. The "crazy ladies" are his mother and numerous other women in this ghetto, but the story isn't so much about them. The thoughts of a young boy trapped in the insanity of poverty make ...more
Çiğdem Gündüz
Nov 30, 2016 Çiğdem Gündüz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2009 Sherri is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
so far one of the most fantastic books i have ever read. finally, an author who isnt afraid to use the english language! dozens of too-little-used words; in fantastic ways. love it.
Jul 06, 2010 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
rich with stories within the total, like perfect tiny movies.
Cheryl S.
Feb 08, 2013 Cheryl S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Came close to being 5 stars for me. Loved the nostalgia and humor and the writing is superb.
A. Gulden
Aug 24, 2014 A. Gulden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bu ikinci kuşak insanların kendi aralarında ve daha öncekilerle rastgele ve süresiz çiftleşmelerinden de yirmi kadar çocuk çıkmıştı. Hepsi kardeş/kuzen/baba/amca/oğul/torun ilişkileri içindeydi. Her bir Meehan, soyadını en azından iki kere hak etmekteydi, ama içlerinden yalnızca biri ‘Bayan Meehan’ diye anılıyordu.

Aşiretin yemeklerini pişiren, küçük çocuklara bakan, temizliğini yapan genellikle oydu –çoğu zaman temizlik de, yırtık pırtık bir saçaklı süpürgeyle kirlerin yer değiştirmesini sağlama
Christine Parker
Jul 17, 2017 Christine Parker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge, read-2017
Although this is similar to many books of this genre, it is much better written than most and cuts out the sentimental rubbish. Good read!
Kathi Mckeown
Jun 13, 2017 Kathi Mckeown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the style of writing but the 367 pages felt more like 600. A lot of humor that fades the further into the book you get. Four stars probably too high, but three too low.
Amy Kitchell-Leighty
Trevanian, a mysterious author whose identity is unknown, has written in many genres. This was my first book to read by Trevanian. The story is about a young boy of about seven or eight, Jean-Luc LaPointe, growing up in Albany, New York, in the late 30s through the mid 40s. The story takes place on poverty stricken Pearl Street during the Great Depression. It begins with Ray LaPointe, who we don’t actually see until the end, who runs out on his family which consists of his son Jean-Luc; his daug ...more
Sep 25, 2013 S. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
the cri de coeur may be my favorite micro-genre of writing. just think, 7 billion people in this world. 1 billion live on $1 a day; the next ilves on $2. the third billion lives on $5/day, but that's still somewhat largely an illiterate or pen-less group. something will come out that third cohort, one day, but it remains the 1 in a billion odds situation.

it's not until you reach the middle billion human beings, $10/day, that we begin to find literacy and access to global media. this experience h
Aug 09, 2008 Liesl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a pure pleasure to read. I so want to give it five stars, but it just doesn't quite measure up to those all time favorites of mine that I have rated five. But The Crazyladies of Pearl Street is still a pure delight. Are there things one can criticize about this book? Sure, if you're so inclined . . . but from the first page this book will draw you in so thoroughly that you feel you are right there with the narrator, on Pearl Street during the Great Depression. Some have said i...m ...more
Gayle Pace
Albany, N.Y. 1936 in a poor Irish neighborhood, a mother, son and daughter have once again been abandoned. The father had just not returned home from leaving one morning. This isn't the first time, but this time he had sent a letter convincing the mother to pack up their sparse belongings and head to 238 North Pearl Street. They sat on the tenement stoop for hours waiting for the father to return. They waited for him for 8 years. The LaPointes had no money and no where to turn. So th
Tracy Brouwer
This book was hard to get through. I liked the story but felt it dragged on and on in some areas and I had to force myself to get through. Would I recommend it? Probably not.......
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"Trevanian" was the pen name of American author Dr. Rodney William Whitaker (12 June 1931-14 Dec 2005). He wrote in a wide variety of genres, achieved best-seller status, and published under several names, of which the best known was Trevanian. From 1972 to 1983, five of his novels sold more than a million copies each. He was described as "the only writer of airport paperbacks to be compared to Zo ...more
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“The Trevanian Buff is a strange and wonderful creature: an outsider, a natural elitist, not so much a cynic as an idealist mugged by reality, not just one of those who march to a different drummer, but the solo drummer in a parade of one.” 2 likes
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