Ham On Rye

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on January 29, 2019

Ham On Rye is due back at the library today. PG could not renew it, because someone else had made a request. This was going to be a snow jam day, but it did not even deliver a good drizzle. Going bonkers over an inch of snow is an Atlanta tradition, and PG would not have it any other way. Which does not write this book report. Pictures from The Library of Congress.

HOR is the about the childhood of Hank Chinaski, who is really Charles Bukowski. It seems like a dreary affair. Hank Sr. is a sadistic asshole. He gets off on beating his son. Mother sits back and does nothing. The story is set in depression Los Angeles, which adds to the morbid ambience of the tale.

A discerning reader can see the roots of the acorn that grew into Charles Bukowski. One of his few childhood friends had a basement full of home made wine. Charles went down there, and made a life long friend. Before long, daddy put a padlock on the basement.

Someone who will write Notes of a Dirty Old Man needs to get out of grammar school first. At some point, a near fatal case of acne hit. Hank was going to the hospital, and receiving acne cures that made daddy seem warm and fuzzy. Eventually, Hank went on to getting drunk whenever possible, and then fighting the person who supplied the hootch.

For all the horny talk, there is little sex in HOR. Hank goes to get drunk with some kid who had a hot mother. The kid passed out, and mama came home. Hank hits on mama. She pulls her skirt up. Her pussy hair is half gray, and not pretty like her head hair. Hank decides to go home instead.

Hank graduates from High School, gets a job in a department store, and gets fired within a week. Hank bounces around, wins a pile of money in a drinking contest, gets kicked out of the family house, and gets kicked out of a Filipino boarding house. Hank starts talking the pre-Pearl Harbor pro German talk, only to discover that the Nazis he meets are idiots. The story ends with the announcement of Pearl Harbor. Hank does not enlist.

A story like this needs a one star review. “I can handle depressing books. I actually steer away from anything too frothy. This one, I am afraid, would depress a circus clown after his best stage performance. Dark. Sad. No uplifting moments. I finished it, hoping it would have some redemption at the end. Wrong. Went from depressing to clinically depressing.”

One Response

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  1. Factotum | Chamblee54 said, on September 14, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    […] ass.” Early in the book, Hank goes to jail for public drunk. His father… immortalized in Ham on Rye … asked him “What? You’d dare drink right after getting out of jail for intoxication?” […]

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