On the Nine

If you ever (and still) called the L the Jackson Park or the Englewood, or the O’Hare or the Ravenswood, ate a Polish on Maxwell Street, ate at a Harold’s, lost someone you loved, gained someone you hated, smelled the subway downtown in August, wished the Sox were on instead of the Cubs (but maybe you were little and still watched the Cubs, ‘cause, baseball), knew that early morning summer air a few blocks from the lake, that air right before it gets humid and the city buzzes to life, thought about those old friends from the neighborhood every now and then (or for real every single damn day), walked by the shelter with the big cross on Wabash and wished you could just eat at Miller’s one time, and you like James Alan MacPherson, or Walter Mosley, or Denis Johnson, or maybe just really good stories well told by someone who makes you feel like you missed that class where they taught excellent writing but this author is going to give you his notes, then buy this Chicago book that illuminates the universal, spend some time On the Nine. Tony Bowers has put together a collection of stories the way you want to read them, the way I love to read them, at your own pace, all so good you can pick up anywhere in the book and read in any direction you want, every one paced and plotted just so, each piece created with heart that beats right out of real places, with real faces, bringing light and joy and pain to all those spaces we grew up to and in and around, our neighborhoods and their stories made real, with love, and with hope.