City Life, Coming of Age in Chicago by John Linehan

City Life Coming of Age in Chicago

City Life Coming of Age in Chicago

City Life is a coming of age tale set in the neighborhoods and streets of Chicago, one of Americas most dynamic cities. It’s the 1970’s and Chicago’s Southside is changing along with the rest of America.

For Francis Curtin, a working class teenager growing up in the West Englewood neighborhood, life is about getting his first car, dodging trouble at his Catholic boys’ school, and exploring the city with his closest pals. But Francis’ world is set for rapid-fire expansion when he lands a job as an Andy Frain usher.

Suddenly Francis is on the sidelines at Soldier Field, backstage at concerts at the Chicago Stadium, and rubbing elbows with sports celebrities Harry Carey and Bill Veeck at Comiskey Park. Then there are some of the usher’s he meets, a motley crew of characters who expose Francis to the adult world and the corruption that Chicago is celebrated for. City Life is about coming of age in one of the most turbulent and thrilling eras in American history. Chicagoans will love this story for it’s historical undertones and setting in some of the city’s most iconic sites, many now demolished or in derepair.

About the Author

John Linehan grew up in the West Englewood community on Chicago’s southside. During his childhood Chicago was known as the “Most Racially Segregated City in America”. This was because Chicago has always been a city of immigrants. People from around the world would settle there to escape the oppression and poverty of their homeland. These people worked in the stockyards and steel mills of the city. They settled in ethnic enclaves and brought many of their own suspicions and prejudices with them. Open housing laws were passed by the federal goverment and the period of time from the mid sixties thru the late seventies marked rapid racial change as neighborhoods on the west and southsides of the city change literally overnight.

Linehan’s neighborhood was changing just as he turned sixteen. He bought an old car and joined a city wide ushering service that gave him acess to the stadiums, ballparks, and arenas of the city. He met a lot of characters in the bars and ballparks of Chicago. Corruption was an accepted part of life in Chicago. He had an inside look at how the “City that Works” actually worked.

Linehan grew up reading Chicago authors: John Powers, James Farrell, Saul Bellow, Nelson Algren, Mike Royko and Stuart Dybek. He saw similarities between the life experiences they wrote about and the characters he met growing up in the city. This inspired his first novel: City Life, Coming of Age in Chicago.

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