The Buzz Boys
by Edward Izzi
Cassino Publishing

"They were a team, an indestructible unit of five young men..."

A shocking tragedy sets in motion Izzi's grim thriller. News of the unexpected death of a close friend prompts a distraught Robert Mazzara to reflect upon his strenuous upbringing in Chicago. He fondly remembers his closest companions, also known as the buzz boys—five tough street but vulnerable kids named Marco, Billy, Petey, Johnny, and Robert. Izzi's tale shifts from the present back to 1965, where they navigate the complexities of growing up during the tumultuous sixties and seventies, bonded by a mutual hate for their abusive parents. Through the lens of these tormented boys, Izzi explores the loss of childhood while celebrating its few happy moments of normality. Individually, they endure a concealed brutality that ultimately shapes them over the course of fifty years as they lament the inability to break free from their harrowing past.

At the heart of Izzi's intriguing novel is a dark coming-of-age story blended with a social commentary on the ills of suburban family violence. Izzi handles difficult themes in this work with care and mindfulness, portraying dramatic yet realistic incidences of maltreatment. While the author's depictions of graphic cruelty might be unsettling, it still initiates an important conversation about domestic abuse that is relevant today. Readers can't help but feel for the boys as they face odds no child should ever face. Structurally, Izzi's narrative alternates from the first-person perspective of Robert to the third-person point of view of the other boys. This is a stylistic choice that is both interesting and dissonant. Nevertheless, Izzi has crafted a tragic but poignant novel that gives readers something to contemplate about abuse's painful and silent scars.

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