The Boy Who Granted Dreams1909. Ellis Island. Arriving off one of the many transatlantic freighters are Cetta Luminita and her illegitimate baby boy Natale, fleeing the poverty and violence of their Southern Italian hometown. Having sacrificed everything, and endured every possible shame, Cetta has but one wish: that her baby should be an American, and grow up with the freedom to decide his own destiny. As they alight, US Immigration officials give Natale a new name: Christmas. 

Growing up in the Lower East Side of New York with his mother, who works as a prostitute, Christmas is determined to be a success, whether a decent person or a gangster. The city is ruled by gangs from each community, Italian, Jewish and Irish, and survival is dependent on ruthlessness and strength. But Christmas has a vivid imagination, and an ability to tell stories that people want to believe...and thus is born his imaginary gang, the Diamond Dogs, which earns him respect within the ghetto. All this changes the day he saves the life of a rich Jewish girl Ruth, and despite their different backgrounds, he falls hopelessly in love with her. When circumstance tears them apart, Christmas vows that he will find her, by any means possible.

A sweeping saga of love and hate set in the Roaring Twenties, The Boy Who Granted Dreams is the story of Christmas and Ruth; the story of the dawn of radio, Broadway and Hollywood; and above all, a story about believing in the power of dreams.

This is a fantastic story and no review can describe this story in the manner in which the author wrote it. It starts with a beautiful young girl in Southern Italy, who is blond and because of the way she looks the Pardon of the area is keeping his eye on here. Her mother fearing that she will get pregnant makes her a cripple by using a rope and tying a shoulder and a leg so she looks hunched over. This works for a while but when a friend of the Padron’s who is missing a leg sees her working in the fields he takes advantage of her. She gives birth to a baby boy she names Natale. Cetta Luminita now decides to leave Italy and go to America for a better life for her son. She will do anything that needs to be done to see that through. On arrival in Ellis Island she is taken off to the side and her sons named is changed to Christmas. She is also taken by a guy by the name of Sal who finds them a place to live and takes her every morning to her job. They slowly fall in love which is one part of this story. As Christmas, grows up he forms a factious gang the Diamond Dogs and his stories begin. He then meets a girl Ruth who was taken advantage of and some other things happen to her, he and his friend take her to the hospital and her grandfather wants to give him a job but instead he asks for the job to be given to his friend. This is really where the story takes off, for Ruth and her family go on a journey and Christmas is always searching for her. Bill the man who did the horrible things to Ruth moves from New York and you still follow his terror of people always hoping he will get his. Then Cetta and Sal become closer and she is no longer working in her place. As for, Christmas he does find his place at a radio station and when a man hears him one night telling a story he realizes he must put him on the air. He also comes across a few gangsters from that time the big one being Rothstein, who for most of the 20’s was running New York until he killed. You are wanting Christmas and Ruth to get back together but you don’t know if they will. This book is full of hope and at the same time there is a depression going on so you don’t know what will happen next. This story really reminds at times of my father telling me his stories of New York as a boy during the 30’s and all of the different neighborhoods you had to walk through and with our family coming from Southern Italy and settling in the Bronx at times I could remember back to my dad telling me stories of his father and uncles. Really this is a story of many peoples immigration to the U.S. and it is a wonderful story and well written and much better than my review. A fantastic book. I got this book from net galley.  I give this 5 stars.

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