How is it that I never heard of quintessential Los Angeles author John Fante until now? St. Fante, the doomed Catholic romantic who presaged Kerouac as the steady-eyed chronicler among the invisible underclass of his generation. El Fante, the true spirit of LA, sitting up nights that refuse to cool down and typing madly in a white undershirt while his ashtray blooms and the smell of flowers on the hot wind makes the whole city smell like a funeral. Fante the bulldog—Bukowski before Bukowski had thought of it, or had given in to it—his spirit resilient against cops, and beautiful/crazy Mexican girls, and poverty. I mean, what the hell were they teaching us in school? If I had my way, I’d have kids read this book over and over. This is life: mad, frantic, desperate, and ecstatic. Neglect to read this at your own peril.