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The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories
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The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  326 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Never before collected in one volume, here are Pete Hamill's stories about Brooklyn, the borough in which he was born and grew up, and the one closest to his heart.

A young boy with a mysterious past forever transforms the lives of the neighborhood toughs. A man returns to his old haunts to avenge the death of his brother. A couple chooses to embrace their memories of a
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  326 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Start your review of The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories
Here's another of my favorite authors: Pete Hamill. This was a surprise to me as well - he did a Christmas book! Yay!

This is a collection of stories in Brooklyn, his home town and area of expertise. A collection of stories that draw you in and ask you to have a seat and observe the community, and I promise when you close the book, have done with the stories, you miss those characters. You hope for them, and want to know the rest of the story.

I've got a Brooklyn itch now. Going to re-read "A Tree
JoAnne Pulcino
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction

Pete Hamill

This brilliant collection of classic Brooklyn where the master story teller, Pete Hamill again astounds us with his depth of emotion for the human condition, his pitch perfect depiction of the populace of Brooklyn and his ability to transports us to a time without heroin and crack.
Mr. Hamill believes the most common New York emotion is nostalgia, which is prevalent throughout the stories coupled with a love of New York and a visit to the world as it
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
PLEASE BE FOREWARNED - THESE ARE NOT CHRISTMAS STORIES. These are stories of life and death. Or life, hardship, and death. Or trauma and survival. Why, why, why, Little Brown did you choose this cover? What a disservice to the author. One reviewer said they selected the title from their library's Christmas books display! Shiver me timbers!!!!

There aren't many warm fuzzy moments here. These are tales of hard-scrabble, working class Brooklyn post-WWII and Korea. Brooklyn is their home, their turf.
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Pete Hamill I read and I thoroughly enjoyed his stories of a Brooklyn that has all but disappeared. His stories show deep affection for the neighborhoods and people. Some stories really sock it to you, and others are quieter, but many will be hard to forget.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book of short stories covers all different characters through several decades from Brooklyn. Some stories are fair, some good, and some great. Among my favorites were the title story, A Death in the Family, A Poet Long Ago, A Hero of the War, S' Wonderful, and The Man With the Blue Guitar.
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I've heard of Pete Hamill, but this is the first time I've read any of his works. This is a collection of short stories about life in New York City. I'm puzzled by the blurb on the back of the book: "They read like messages from a vanished age, brimming with nostalgia..." I didn't find the stories nostalgic, except for possibly the title story, "The Christmas Kid." These aren't feel good Christmas tales. In "The Christmas Kid," the narrator tells his mother that the new boy, Lev, has a number ...more
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-read
Pete Hamill's "The Christmas Kid and other Brooklyn stories" moves from poignant to vengeful, heart-warming to hopeless, yet each story is linked in this collection by its Brooklyn setting. Early to mid-20th century Brooklyn emerges as the main character of this book and now feels familiar even though I grew up in a very different time and place. The loyalty of working class immigrants to their neighbors, the fierce stubbornness that causes some characters to cling to their own clearly defined ...more
Diane S ☔
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
The neighborhood of Brooklyn, over the span of thirty years, a huge melting pot of a place and a place that this author loves. I really enjoyed these stories, all the things that happen in a neighborhood, the good, the bad and of course the ugly. So very real, real people and real situations. Reminded me so much of my old neighborhood in Chicago, a mix of nationalities, playing in the alley, the streets, just the sense of belonging, thinking that it would all last forever. Of course, anyone who ...more
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it

These 36 short, short stories all appeared in the New York Daily News in the 1980s in an attempt to recapture the place literature once held in journalism. In that they certainly succeeded. It’s difficult for me to say I didn’t like The Christmas Kid when I have such admiration for Hamill’s writing. He’s one of my favorite authors and this collection does nothing to dim that admiration, but almost all were so melancholy, depressing, and dark that finishing was a chore. Still, the writing is
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've always been a fan of short stories and I really liked this collection. Each story was different and hit you in a different way (emotionally) but it was also pretty cohesive. I look forward to reading more by this author
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This book contains different short stories, that take place in Brooklyn. Some were more interesting than others.
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Torn between three and four stars for this book of short short stories, but eventually coming down in favor of four for the way he creates a sense of place and feeling.
In a lot of ways there stories reminded me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; they centered on pooor and immigrant communities in Brooklyn, reaching into a nostalgic past when things definitely weren't any easier, but they were the way they were--which for some people is all they really want. Each story dealt with aspects of that past
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful collection of stories about where Hamill grew up, which was close to where I grew up. Many of the stories are placed in the late 40s and 50s (about 10 years before my time there) in working class immigrant Brooklyn, and Hamill captures the sensibility of that place better than anyone. His rhythmic dialogue keeps you smiling and he really evokes the community ethos of working class NYC that is so centered on the "neighborhood". After reading a collection like this, I wonder why anyone ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
"The Christmas Kid: And Other Brooklyn Stories" is a book of short stories. All the stories take place in Brooklyn over several decades. Many mention some of the same places, such as Rattigan's bar and grill that remained a mainstay in a lot of the stories. Some are funny, others sad and tragic. This might be a great book for those who are familiar with Brooklyn New York. Although I have never been there, I feel I learned a bit about Brooklyn and those who have lived there.
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of fictional stories written by Hamill for the New York Daily News in the 1980's. They are set in Brooklyn, where the author grew up.

As with any collection of fictional stories, some of these provide better reading than others.

Of the stories that I read, "The Christmas Kid," which gave the volume its title, was my favorite. I also recommend "Just the Facts, Ma'am."
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Let me begin by saying that I love Pete Hamill! The first story in this collection is, in fact, a feel good Christmas story. The rest are quirky, sad, a bit violent, heart wrenching stories of the Brooklyn area of Park Slope and South Slope where Hamill grew up. He writes of what he knows. He is remembering a time that was, and he lays it out, warts and all, for the reader to see it with him. It is filled with characters that you won’t soon forget. A wonderful read as always!
A nostalgic bunch of short stories by Brooklyn native Pete Hamill. I really enjoyed these stories but most of them end badly or sad. I read this as a Christmas book (the main story does have a nicer ending) and was hoping for more uplifting stories for the holiday season. But all in all I enjoyed the stories and hearing about the places in Brooklyn my dad always talks about.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book cover and title is was not the best choice. Photos of old vintage Brooklyn would have been a much better choice.

Some of the stories are not the most uplifting...some quite depressing and sad. They all had a very realistic, old time feeling... If you choose to read it this....I'd suggest you balance it out with some happy, uplifting activities...
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy stories that take place in New York. This book of short stories is no exception. All of these stories are from Pete Hamill's life in Brooklyn, New York. All good quick reads. My favorite is the first one as it shows how a community can come together to benefit one.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Book is a collection of original short stories that were written in the 1980's by Pete Hamill for various local Brooklyn newspapers. Some were better than others. I did enjoy the "walk down memory lane" with his mentioning many places in Brooklyn that I was familiar with, when growing up there.
Dave Donahoe
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, if there is one thing this book will teach you, it’s that Brooklyn is a very sad place.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book that transports the reader to another era of a Brooklyn neighborhood. Intriguing short stories that stick with you. Read it cover to cover in a matter of days.
Gerard Tarpey
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it

This is a wonderful collection of Pete Hamill's writings. The majority of these short tales were previously published as NY Daily News articles (where they were always the best part of that day's edition) or in various short story publications. If I'm not mistaken, the majority of the newspaper articles were published before newspapers became available via the Web. So, if the News wasn't sold at your corner store, these stories will be brandy new to you and you should consider yourself lucky to
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and I am very thankful for Goodreads and for having this book. I have been reading this book for several weeks. It is not long In length and the stories do not require much time to read but It is a book you pick up, read a story, then walk away and ponder the words, the story and why it had to be that way. I have always enjoyed Pete Hamill's writing and I love having all these stories in one book.

After many segues and taking time to complete many other
Be warned, this book is NOT all Christmas stories. Other than the title story, there are very few that actually are related to Christmas, but I still think this was a wonderful book to read around the holidays since it is brimming with nostalgia. I never lived in Brooklyn, but my grandmother did and I've grown up hearing stories from her life there. Many of the stories collected here are heart-breaking or even downright depressing, but certainly not all. The title story was truly fantastic and I ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
The stories of Pete Hamill bring me comfort, not because they are always about happy endings or easy circumstances, but because they offer a gentle reminiscence of times gone by. The stories in this collection stem from his growing up years in Brooklyn. Hamill so honestly depicts the attitudes and realities of mid twentieth century America, that the characters, their hopes, and problems, and experiences ring true not just for city dwellers but for rural populations and suburbanites as well. I ...more
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Since I enjoyed the writing of "The Drinking Life" by this author, I assumed I would enjoy his book of short stories too. I’m sorry to say I didn’t. They were well-written and took place in the same neighborhood where "The Drinking Life" took place, yet they didn’t do anything for me.
One of the reasons is that the neighborhood and the “feeling” of living there and being there wasn’t as well defined. In The Drinking Life, the end result of the life of drinking by Hamill ended happily, with his
Dec 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
I bought this book thinking that it would contain Christmas stories that took place in and around Brooklyn, NY. I was sorely disappointed. This is definitely not a collection of Christmas stories. It is a collection of bent and broken stories that left me feeling pity for most of the characters. These stories were so hopeless and dystopic. I have read many collections of Christmas stories over the years and while some may bring me to tears, they touch my heart in a very meaningful and ...more
Nicole Girolomo
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm not normally a big fan of short stories but I did enjoy this collection. They are not all about Christmas but that was clear when I read the description of the book. I'm not sure why anyone would have thought they were all about Christmas.
Some of the stories were pretty difficult, about unhappy harsh times in peoples lives. But that's what made them seem real. You get a sense if the authors childhood and the Brooklyn he grew up in. Reading these stories has made me want to seek out more by
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great collection of short stories that I began somewhat hesitantly. The title, The Christmas Kid and Other Brooklyn Stories, made me fearful it would be sickening sweet, it turned out to be quite an unexpected treat. I was drawn to the book because I grew up in Connecticut, one hour outside of NYC, and my husband is from the Bronx. The stories span an era before our time, yet the tales of love and hope, mixed with crime and bitterness, all served with a generous helping of nostalgia, taste of ...more
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Pete Hamill is a novelist, essayist and journalist whose career has endured for more than forty years. He was born in Brooklyn, N. Y. in 1935, the oldest of seven children of immigrants from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He attended Catholic schools as a child. He left school at 16 to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a sheetmetal worker, and then went on to the United States Navy. While serving in ...more