The Beat on Ruby's Street by Jenna Zark
The Beatnik culture has been around since the 1950s and was defined by the free-spirited nature of those within it. For Ruby Tabeata, it was the perfect way to live. She lived in Greenwich Village with her mother, Nell-Mom; her father, Gary Daddy-o; and her brother, Ray-boy. Her family was a mixture of artists and musicians, but Ruby's one true love was poetry. She had been writing poetry since she could hold a pencil, and her one dream was to see the legendary Beatnik poet, Jack Kerouac, in person. Shortly before her 12th birthday, Ruby gets the opportunity to meet her hero in person because he's reading at one of the clubs. However, a small misunderstanding with one of the shop owners (affectionately known as "Tattoo Tina") sends Ruby to the Greenwich police station, and her dreams of meeting Kerouac in person begin to fade with each passing hour. As if that wasn't enough, "The Man" is now investigating Ruby's family life. The Beat on Ruby's Street gives you an intimate look into the Beatnik culture through the eyes of 12-year-old Ruby. You get to hear her thoughts as she creates poetry, suffers through betrayal, and learns the true meaning of family. I've always enjoyed reading about other cultures and eras, and this story was no different. Ruby is a charming, strong-willed, dynamic personality that you can't help but love. She dominates the scene, but the supporting characters are by no means just background noise. They also have their own lives, and their lives often intertwined with Ruby's and helped propel her story along. My only real complaint was the way it ended. We never got any real closure; Ruby may have learned a valuable lesson, but her life was still in chaos, leaving us with a profound sense of "What happened next?" The writing style also changes from first-person to third within the last few paragraphs, which doesn't seem to make any sense. It breaks the fourth wall and pulls the reader from the story, which, coupled with the lack of resolution, just comes across as frustrating. Despite the strange ending, I really enjoyed reading The Beat on Ruby's Street. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars, and I think it's perfect for anyone who'd like an inside glance at the Beatnik culture. About the Author: Jenna Zark is a columnist, lyricist and an award-winning playwright who first learned about the Beatnik culture when her older sister took her to Greenwich Village and told her stories about the poets who walked those streets in the 1950s. That inspired a love for a culture long past, and The Beat on Ruby's Street was born. To learn more about this author and her works, visit her Website, check out her Amazon page, or follow her on Twitter. To read The Beat on Ruby's Street for yourself, check out the link below! The author's photo came from her Website.