The authentic human voice is a thing many writers strive to capture. Few can claim to have succeeded. Contos, however, very much has earned that badge of honor. The text is home to an authentic and powerful narration that still, in its honest humanity, grounds itself in the humble approach to one man’s life and what that life means.
I don’t often cry over books. It’s not that I can’t, it’s just something that very rarely happens.
I cried reading about the kid of Brewery Town.
Take that as you will.
– Jan 22, 2022
I got a chill and a gigantic smile all over my body and soul when I read this review by Katherine D of the book I wrote about how my neighborhhod upbringing helped guide me throughout my life. I don’t know this reviewer, but would like to meet the lovely lady and personally thank her in this incarnation or the next one.
I will cherish this write-up forever and re-read it whenever I feel writer’s block or some uncertainty about what I want to express to my fellow readers.
The book I wrote finally got additional reviews after I recently published the second in a series of my life offerings as seen from a kid from the old neighborhood. The title of the first offering is “A Brewerytown Kid Grows Up” and is followed by “A Brewerytown Kid Grows Up – Some More.” (Click on the highlighted titles to see a copy on Amazon!)
The books contained articles I wrote for the blog Contoveros.WordPress.com. I included some background history on the Philadelphia neighborhoods in the first book, and then in the second one, I served up several photographs of different parts of my life, from serving as an “angel” and an aspiring altar boy at age six in St. Ludwig’s Roman Catholic Church and later as a combat infantry platoon leader at the ripe old age of 21 while in Vietnam.
My first book was dedicated to my grandson, Jameson Alexander Contos. He is about to turn five in a few months. The second book, which was just recently published, is dedicated to my granddaughter, Denalia Jewel Contos, who will be three years old in the same month as her older brother.
Please enjoy the reviews below and check out the book if you would like to get a copy. It can be found on Amazon in a kindle version as well as a paperback book. (A Brewerytown Kid Grows Up)
In his memoir, Michael Contos creates a universal story with his own experiences growing up in a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia, serving in the Vietnam War, and later finding his way to a law career. Throughout his story, Contos is constantly striving to use the natural compassion he has felt for those around him since he was a child to do what is right.
Contos’ attempts sometimes lead to failure and occasionally leave him wondering if he truly accomplished his objective. By using his own life events, Contos is able to bring readers into his struggles. His realistic portrayal of events leaves you feeling his determination, to feel the pleasure when things go right and the disappointment and confusion when they do not.
A Brewerytown Kid Grows Up’s vignette-style anecdotes tracing life from early childhood in Philadelphia, through early adulthood in Vietnam, and varied life as a journalist, lawyer, and PTSD survivor offers an intimate look at one man’s experiences. Seeing how early events shaped Michael into the man he is today is a unique and compelling experience. The short chapters are perfect for easy reading and the writing style is conversational, so you feel like you’re listening to him tell a story for you only.
I love reading stories about people’s childhoods, juxtaposed against what happens when they grow up. And this book certainly sent me on a ride! From the first line of the book right up until the end, the character and voice shine in Michael Contos’ recollections. There’s pain, trouble, drama, triumph, and humor–everything that makes up the human existence.
Moreover, when he writes about his anger issues and past trauma, remedied with the help of meditation, this book becomes so much more than an interesting story of one man’s life. It’s the opportunity for us all to learn what we need to let go of.
Fabulous, easy read. Best wishes to this author and his journey. Very well done.