What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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UNSOLVED: One specific book > Fiction, written and set in 1970s NYC, young bright orphan boy uses spoils from pick pocketing and cons to move into a posh hotel with his pretend mother, an alcoholic emotionally disturbed homeless woman.

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message 1: by David (new)

David (dlenos) | 4 comments I read this in late 70s, and believe it was a brief best seller, or at least popularly noted for its sensational subject matter. The boy (around 8 to 10 years old?), is an orphan from a poor single mom, now struggling to survice on the streets. He teaches himself pick pocketing and other survival skills. He bonds with a crazy homeless woman, using her as a substitute mom. Eventually he establishes them both in a posh NYC hotel (the Plaza? Waldorf?), under the pretense that they are old money aristocracy.

Told mostly from the boys viewpoint, so it reads a bit like YA, but my recollection is that it positioned itself as serious contemporary fiction.


message 2: by Kris (new)

Kris | 33390 comments Mod
David, who are the boy's parents? How did he become orphaned?


message 3: by David (last edited Jul 09, 2020 06:30PM) (new)

David (dlenos) | 4 comments Kris wrote: "David, who are the boy's parents? How did he become orphaned?"

I believe his single mother was a drug addict who dies just before the story begins. The backstory does not figure prominently, the focus being his rise. The theme was probably a commentary on the increasingly material focus of US culture at the time (which after all did give birth to the 80s). Stylistically, its exactly the sort of sensationalist novel of that period that would become hot for a few weeks.


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