Wednesday, January 2, 2008

BOOK: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler

Canadian Book Challenge, Quebec entry

I think I really liked this book. I mean, I think I really liked this book. For poor Duddy Kravitz was a great character. Growing up Jewish in 1950s Montreal, Duddy wants to make something of himself. His grandfather told him once that a man without land is nobody and Duddy makes it his goal to get some land. He's a schemer and feels that no one wants to help him, which they don't. And some people even are actively trying to put him down, because Duddy has an attitude. Some might call it arrogant, and trying to put himself at a higher station than life has given him. And people in power don't like to see someone else trying to usurp their power.

I just felt Duddy was focused, and determined, and he didn't care who got in his way on the way to the top. He certainly wasn't afraid of hard work, and he never got into anything very illegal although he probably skirted very close when he brought the pinball machines into Canada. His family thought he was a bum and dreaming too high, and yet he was the one who did everything for the people who didn't appreciate him, helping his brother stay in medical school and looking after his uncle on his deathbed. The back of the book called Duddy a 'hustler', which he was, but hustlers are successful because they are charming. I felt for Duddy in his struggles and his attempt at redemption within his family and community. He certainly made a lot of mistakes and was quite selfish, but I still rooted for him.

This is a classic Canadian novel and I am so glad I read this for the Canadian book challenge. The Quebec setting was a big part of the book and that is important to me for this challenge, as I read by province.

(It's the wrong cover. and I really like my cover. I have to balance my compulsive need for the right cover with my cheapness of buying second hand books that are not widely around)


  1. It sounds good, thanks for the review.

  2. Thank you for your encouraging post. I was pretty upset this morning.

  3. myutopia - no problem. I remember being upset as well, and going to a diabeters clinic. It's a big deal, but not, at the same time. Hormones play on your mind. You will be fine.

  4. This does sound really good! I will add it to my wish list.

  5. I'm so glad to see finally see Richler represented in the list of books people have read for the Canadian Book Challenge. Barney's Version and Cocksure are both favourites of mine. This one has been sitting unread on my shelf forever.

  6. wendy - something about Duddy made me like him, but he was pretty selfish

    john - my only other Richler had been Jacob Two- Two, my sister's favorite book as a child. But I'll look for another now, for sure.

  7. Dang, now that I'm in the Canadian Book Challenge, all these novels are jumping out of the woodwork at me. And today, on the subway, my friend from book group, Canadian (Ontario) Aaron was shouting out possible titles for each province and territory. I've already forgotten what he said, he was going so fast. Thanks for the review of Duddy Kravitz. I've heard of this book/movie most of my life, but it was always peripheral, until now. I didn't know Mordecai Richler was Canadian. This challenge is going to be so good for me!


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