Meet Mazie Phillips: big-hearted and bawdy, she's the truth-telling proprietress of The Venice, the famed New York City movie theater. It's the Jazz Age, with romance and booze aplenty--even when Prohibition kicks in--and Mazie never turns down a night on the town. But her high spirits mask a childhood rooted in poverty, and her diary, always close at hand, holds her dearest secrets.
When the Great Depression hits, Mazie's life is on the brink of transformation. Addicts and bums roam the Bowery; homelessness is rampant. If Mazie won't help them, then who? When she opens the doors of The Venice to those in need, this ticket taking, fun-time girl becomes the beating heart of the Lower East Side, and in defining one neighborhood helps define the city.
Then, more than ninety years after Mazie began her diary, it's discovered by a documentarian in search of a good story. Who was Mazie Phillips, really? A chorus of voices from the past and present fill in some of the mysterious blanks of her adventurous life.
Inspired by the life of a woman who was profiled in Joseph Mitchell's classic Up in the Old Hotel, SAINT MAZIE is infused with Jami Attenberg's signature wit, bravery, and heart. Mazie's rise to "sainthood"--and her irrepressible spirit--is unforgettable.
Set in the Lower East Side of New York City during the early 1900s, Saint Mazie tells the story of a young Mazie Phillips as she navigates the changes around her. Fearless, big-hearted, beautiful and loyal, Mazie changes from the good time girl to the hard worker that keeps the family together through heartache, death, war, and the Great Depression.
Through Mazie's diary entries and the thoughts of those around her, we get a strong sense of Mazie's sense of humor, her commitment to fairness, and her openness and care for the many, diverse people that populate the Lower East Side. Warning: some of Mazie's diary entries about her love affair with the Captain are sexually graphic.
Though Saint Mazie started slow, I grew to appreciate Mazie's aggressiveness and her straightforward response to all kinds of life shattering events. The book clearly is a reader's favorite and was chosen as an Amazon book of the month for the month of June.