by Gary Korn
Years ago, "Leonard Park" was a modest, middle class, Jewish community. But there must have been something in the air or water, something in those dark gray apartment houses to spawn the likes of Robert and Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Penny Marshall, Rudy Brodtsky and Michael Levine. Rudy and Mike who? They are the two protagonists of EXCESS BAGGAGE, a coming of age novel set in this funny, complex, proud neighborhood. Although the two boys have known each other for years, Mike becomes Rudys Svengali, when Brodtsky gives up his beloved basketball to follow another pursuit -- girls. Their tacit agreement is quite simple: Mike will provide Rudy with a physical and emotional makeover; Rudy will be Mikes devout follower, if not worshiper Deep within the entrails of Leonard park lies an almost mystical, tradition-bound parcel of land known by all who go there as The Fence". We meet "Tush", "Onion", Lynn "Watermelons" and Robin "Cantaloupes", Rudys first girl friend. The most charismatic "Fenceperson" is Bob Stampick, whose exploits are legendary. Capable of one thousand marine push-ups in one set, noted for biting Larry "Arms" ear off in a fight that occurrred long before the world heard of Mike Tyson, seen pulling a Good Humor truck up Villa Avenue with his teeth, Stampick stories are epic. One story that has not yet enfolded is the golden gloves tournament Stampick enters to represent the neighborhood. There are losses in their lives, but one thing Mike and Rudy never lose is their lust for girls. Mike finds Sue. Rudy finds Liz. Both boys find sex, love and competition. Liz is like no girl Rudy or Mike has ever met, and she proves a challenge to Rudys sexual stamina, emotional health and capacity to endure. Rudy must navigate psychological complexities that leave him lost and confused most of the time. The novel takes the boys to The University of Wisconsin where they have to navigate a system that at best is daunting. Their relationship is strained to the breaking point by external and internal issues. College life is a far cry from Leonard Park, and it could destroy one or both of the boys.
Author: Gary Korn
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: 2013-07-08