I first read this coming-of-age story as a young teenager, having borrowed it from an aunt who'd recommended it, and I enjoyed it immensely. I recently bought a copy of my own and read it again, because Danny Fisher and his story remained with me for over twenty years - which isn't something I can say for many books. Since then, my partner and eldest son (aged 17) have also read it, and both agreed it was an immediate favourite of theirs too.
I can't compare it to any of his other work, as it's the only HR book I've read, but I'd recommend it to anyone, from the age of about thirteen upward, male or female. It may not be the work of a literary master, but I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't enjoy the story and connect with characters and issues, or whom it wouldn't touch emotionally. You'll feel as though Danny was someone you once knew after reading it.
The prologue is particularly powerful - I cried not a few tears while reading it as an adult. Interestingly, I didn't read the prologue the first time I read the book so was unaware of the ending of the story until I got there. If you prefer some suspense, you may want to read the prologue last.
I adore this book; in its own right is so well written in terms of conflict within characters and destructures moralisation against those who are fallen... and an interesting fact for quiz nerds, it's the premise of the story of the Elvis Presley movie 'King Creole'. Read/watch both side by side, The King really could act.
It is probably fair to say that Harold Robbins is, in most people's minds, thought of as a writer of breathless beach-books from the same era as Jackie Collins or Arthur Haley. However, here we have an earlier work that tries very hard to be 'literary' and almost pulls it off. "A Stone For Danny Fisher" tells the story of a 'nice jewish boy' in the rough New York of the Depression Era. A series of events drives his family downwards towards poverty and young Danny, with an apparent gift for boxing, tries to help out by using his natural talent. However, this brings him in to contact with the criminal underworld and sets the stage for Danny's continuation as an adult in the shadowy world of semi-legality in cigarette smuggling. Deliverance from this way of life in to something respectable is abruptly cut short when hubris becomes nemesis....read it yourself! Robbins has given us a tightly scripted story with a strong moral message. This is a very good example of a long forgotten genre of depression-era literature and is well worth reading for what Robbins was capable of. Ignore the god-awful screen adaptation for Elvis Presley - the story was so distorted as to be unrecognisable.
It starts wan Danny Fisher moves the first time in an own house with his parents and his sister. Until adulthood he strugles through life, being always on the losing end of life. He fights against all odds for his family and sometimes disobeying his father in the way to make money. "Moving Day" is a synonym for a change in life, for growing up. You'll like Danny, you'll feel his pain and hope that life will get easier for him. But the solution is a surpirse and the book will stay with you longer than you might expect. In a few ways this book is strange, especially when you read the epilogue. But it is worthwhile.
Harold Robbins has a reputation for writing "trash" and "smut" and he did write some books that may be labelled as such, but he also wrote some great books, with good storiess, believable characters with quite a lot of depth, novels that keep you turning the pages not because there's a lot of action but because you really care about the charcters. "A Stone for Danny Fisher" is one of those books. Perhaps not his best, but certainly a good read. Recommended.
Trivia: The Elvis movie King Creole was loosely based on this book, although the setting was changed from New York to New Orleans and Danny Fisher is a singer (what else) in the movie instead of a boxer as in the book.
I read this book many years ago, after finding out that the film King Creole was based on it. I have been waiting to get a copy on my iPad, via Kindle, and am now able to enjoy it once again. And its as good as I remember.....