'A Conversation With The Mann'
By: John Ridley
(Paperback / 448 Pages / Warner Books / ISBN: 0446690759 / $14.95)
Description:Written by novelist ('Stray Dogs'), screenwriter ('Three Kings') and TV producer (NBC's 'Third Watch') Ridley tells a new tale set against the backdrop of 1950s-1960s Hollywood - Rat Pack Las Vegas and the Civil Rights movement. The fictional narrator is a mordant, world-weary Harlem-raised black comic, Jackie Mann, who irreverently recounts a journey from poverty to his symbol of success, an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, and a path strewn with both compromise and degradation.
Verdict:I dare anyone to try to stop reading this once starting. One of the most highly satisfing novels in a very long time, not to mention an unlikely character who becomes unforgettable. It's a story about places and times in our history. Entertainment, politics, and social caste systems collide on a daily basis. The individual Odyssey is a what Homer would have written in the 21st century. Jackie Mann is among modern literature's most engaging characters, one you can truly feel for whilst realizing just how like all of us he is! Jackie's story is amazing and the early years are especially upsetting, but that's what makes the novel so important. Read it, enjoy it, think about it.
Reviewed By Mark Stevens