Ed Marciniak

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 186

[Bonham] has again mapped an adventurous trail through the nitty-gritty world of a Negro teenager living in "Dogtown," a poor, big-city neighborhood.

Following that trail is Charlie Matthews, a near-dropout from high school, seeking directions to his future vocation….

The Nitty Gritty follows his career struggle through a series of...

(The entire section contains 186 words.)

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[Bonham] has again mapped an adventurous trail through the nitty-gritty world of a Negro teenager living in "Dogtown," a poor, big-city neighborhood.

Following that trail is Charlie Matthews, a near-dropout from high school, seeking directions to his future vocation….

The Nitty Gritty follows his career struggle through a series of offbeat adventures which includes a boxing match in an oil-slicked ring, a raid into a rocky ravine for sackfuls of ladybugs, and an illegally sponsored cock fight. Breathing Man, a sedentary wizard who exchanges advice for hot dogs; Cowboy, leader of a rat pack, and the other characters who plop into Charlie's life are as real and tough as those whose names land on a police blotter.

Youngsters will not be the only ones charmed by Charlie and his Dogtown friends. Oldsters, especially those who deal with young boys, will appreciate Bonham's professional insight into juvenile psychology. While Charlie is burdened by some special hang-ups as a Negro, readers will also recognize that his are the growing pains of every high school youth. (p. 20)

Ed Marciniak, in Book World—Chicago Tribune, Part I (© 1968 Postrib Corp.), November 3, 1968.

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