Say Hello to My Little Friend

S. & S. Mar. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781668023327. $27.99. F
Twenty-year-old Cuban American Izzy Reyes lives in the slowly submerging city of Miami. As a professional celebrity look-alike, Izzy is at a crossroads; he has just been enjoined from impersonating the rapper Pitbull. To fill this intolerable void, Izzy hits on the idea of re-creating Al Pacino’s Scarface character Tony Montana, complete with supporting cast. Meanwhile, Lolita, an orca at Sea World, ruminates in her too-small pool, waiting, waiting, waiting… Crucet (How To Leave Hialeah) masterfully manipulates her clown car of wacky characters and wild situations to hilarious effect. However, the novel’s comedy flows into the more serious riptide of Izzy’s search for clarity about his arrival in the United States as a child. Crucet spoofs Cuban American culture in Miami, popular culture, gangster culture, drug culture, urban culture, and just plain culture and does so in a conversational style that sneaks in occasional asides to the reader.
VERDICT Hilarious in places, poignant in others, this novel is a literary dessert not to miss.
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