Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite on July 15, 2018
Hollywood via Orchard Street is an historical fiction novel written by Wayne Clark. It all started when Charles Czerny found that typewriter in the refuse left by the firefighters after a fire on Mangin Street. Just the fact that it was found on Mangin Street had a special significance for him. He seemed to recall stories that his dad had lived there or something like that. Charles had never known his dad; it had always been just him and his mom, except for those years when his mom had a gentleman friend whom he was instructed to call Uncle. This typewriter seemed magical in its promise. It was an Underwood Model 2, and his careful ministrations with a soft cloth made the instrument shine and seem as good as new. Charles Czerny knew he was destined to go places. It didn’t matter that the country was in the midst of a deep and enduring depression, or that his mother made him leave school after seventh grade to support her. Charles had the abiding conviction that the future was what you made it, and he saw an illustrious future indeed for himself.
As I read Wayne Clark’s marvelous historical fiction novel, Hollywood via Orchard Street, I couldn’t help but wonder how much more Charles Czerny could do with all the modern conveniences of the internet at his fingertips, but then again, he does quite spectacularly with what’s available in his day and at his age. Clark’s coming of age tale is rich with the nuances and culture of Orchard Street and the people who lived in the Lower East Side during the Great Depression. I loved following as Charles gets involved in the newspaper trade and the trade wars between rival publishers, and marveled at the classic feel of this story about determination and belief in oneself. Clark’s plot is a grand one, and his characters are larger than life. Hollywood via Orchard Street is most highly recommended.