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Winner of the Great Lakes Book Award and the 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library
Raised in an affluent suburb on the North Shore of Chicago, Rich Cohen had a cluster of interesting friends, but none more interesting than Jamie Drew. Fatherless, reckless, and lower middle class in a place that wasn’t, Jamie possessed such an irresistible insouciance and charm that even the teachers called him Drew-licious. Through the high school years of parties and Cub games and girls, of summer nights on the beach and forbidden forays into the blues bars of Chicago’s notorious South Side, the two formed an inseparable bond. Even after Cohen went to college in New Orleans (Jamie went to Kansas) and then moved to New York, where he had a memorable interlude with the legendary New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell, Jamie remained oddly crucial to his life. Exquisite and taut, Lake Effect is a bittersweet coming-of-age story that quietly bores to the essence of friendship and how it survives even as it is destined to change.
“Lake Effect draws its characters with a sure hand. . . . Cohen's connection to his past seems to remain strong.” –The New York Times
“So outrageous and so true. . . . the book rockets along, powered by the high octane of Cohen’s candor [and] off-beat observations.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Cohen . . . has taken the everyday stuff of life and made it joyously readable. The mundane becomes richly evocative in his hands. The usual becomes unusual, the boring becomes interesting, the sweet becomes bittersweet, and Lake Effect becomes the proverbial book you can't put down.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Arresting and thoughtful. . . . Cohen brings back the flavor of the '80s culture with insight and humor." –The Washington Post