Verdict: CITY OF ANGELS is a heartwarming tale of a truly goodhearted young man who has to prove himself despite considerable odds.
Michael Connelly was orphaned when his father and sister died in a car crash, and his grieving mother followed them after an overdose. He’s lived in a group home ever since, but despite the cold bureaucratic hostility of the system, has managed to make some good friends. He also found himself mentors in Jerry Thompson and Burt Monson, who have trained him as a boxer and encouraged his dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. When his group home burns down, he finds himself a hero for saving a housemate’s life – and is sent to live with a group of girls and their mentor, Maria, where he finds new possibilities for love and family. But when he is falsely accused of murder, can he navigate his way through a system that’s quite willing to condemn an innocent man, and clear his name in time to take the middleweight title?
CITY OF ANGELS is a poignant story about a young man’s struggle to make a good life for himself and others despite a bureaucracy that cares more about saving its own skin than about making a healthy, happy future for the children in its care. Michael is a lovable, kind, honorable young man, and it’s easy to root for him. The story reads as though the author had considerable experience with its topics, from the group home system to the boxing community to prison, and the details of Mike’s experiences feel real and vivid. The strong emotional bonds between Mike and his mentors, and his group home family, are touchingly portrayed. However, the good qualities of this book often spill over into excess and become its flaws.
Mike and the other “good” characters are too good, too pure, without any flaws other than those safely in their past (and only then when they need to help Mike survive in bad situations), while the evil bureaucracy is populated mainly by heartless monsters concerned only with covering their rear ends and furthering their careers. The detailed thoroughness of the writing can spill over in places into tedious overexplication – a good pruning would do wonders for this book. And the emotions, while real and touching, sometimes become a bit too syrupy sweet, even preachy in places – it can feel as if the author is more interested in pushing a political and social agenda than in telling a lively story.
CITY OF ANGELS is a heartwarming tale of a truly goodhearted young man who has to prove himself despite considerable odds.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader