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on 21 July 2002
When I first held this book in my hand, I asked myself: Howcome Bukowski for Beginners is written and illustrated by two Latin Americans and not by someone from North America, where Bukowski lived from he was 5 years old till his death? The woeful answer to that question lies in the Americans' hate and aversion toward Bukowski. Throughout his entire career, he worked against the American Dream and introduced the notion of social class to a country claiming to render freedom, liberty and justice to all. The book presents the Bukowski from many perspectives, which constitutes both its strength and weakness. Bukowski for Beginners casts light on the many facets of the writer, living up to its "for beginners" title, however it often draws hasty conclusions and overlooks the depth of Bukowski's authorship, which basically was a distinct criticism of American society. That being said, Polimeni shows great insight in the tragi-comical aspect of Bukowski in portraying the writers eternal struggle to find money for alcohol and aversion toward being categorized as a Beatnik. The illustrations by Miguel Rep are funny and most of them very lifelike caricatures of Bukowski, though I would have preferred a different cover illustration because a picture of a drunkard sticking his fingers in his mouth as if to vomit, is a somewhat narrow-minded presentation of Bukowski. By all means, read the book as it is good for a fair amount of laughs and despite my apparant reluntance, it did provide an incarnated Bukowski-fan like me with a few nice-to-know facts.
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