Memories of Clason Point
Here is an unusually evocative picture of family life during the Depression that transports the reader back through time with sensual imagery, dialogue, and minutely descriptive detail. Kelly Sonnenfeld's extraordinary recall has allowed her to re-create the lively scenes, pastimes, and characters of her own childhood, all centered on one block in the famous multi-ethnic Bronx neighborhood of Clason Point.
From the "Hooverville" camps of squatters, homeless, and unemployed to an endless succession of boarders and stray dogs, a caravan of unforgettable faces and personalities travels through young Kelly's life. But most memorable of all are the looming figures of her own people: her regally proud maternal grandmother, who will buy her grandchildren fancy, starched dresses before putting food on their table; her anxious but granite-willed mother; her endearingly optimistic father, whose adventures in bootlegging bring the family close to peril on several occasions and eventually propel him from the pocket of an influential judge to prison on Rikers Island.
For fans of Depression Era and gangster lore, for readers of any age who love losing themselves in another time and place, this memoir is a remarkable journey to one of the most colorful destinations in American history.