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Kritzer Time — by Bruce Kimmel

Benjamin Kritzer is thirteen and ready to take on the world. But is the world ready for Benjamin Kritzer? In Benjamin Kritzer and Kritzerland, Benjamin has gone from adolescence to young adulthood, managing to survive his Martian family, Bad Men, a broken heart, a broken friendship and a multitude of adventures and cliffhangers in the unending serial known as his life. Now, in Kritzer Time, Benjamin must navigate the treacherous terrain of his teenage years, in a world that’s changing as fast as he is. But it’s when Benjamin meets amantha Gilman, a girl as unique and special as he is, a girl who becomes part of his world, and a girl who will impact his life in ways that he can’t possibly imagine, that Kritzer Time reveals its true heart and soul. Kritzer Time is a time machine back to the wonderful world of Los Angeles in the early 1960s, and a heartfelt, warm, hilarious and touching story of a young boy becoming a young man.

Reader reviews from Amazon.com : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

"I became aquainted with Benjamin Kritzer through the novels Benjamin Kritzer and the sequel Kritzerland. Both books were enjoyable treats following the exploits of a young boy in 1950s and 1960s Los Angeles. These two books were a build up to the third book Kritzer Time. It follows Benjamin through the end of Junior High and his travails through High School and graduation. I was quickly taken into Kritzer Time, which is both a title and a kind of “virtual reality”. Benjamin can stop time (for himself anyway) and as the book progresses, uses this technique wonderfully. There are also vivid descriptions of first times for Benjamin, especially first times for certain movies and first times for seeing plays and musicals. The memories are amazingly similar to my own which made me smile. His description of the first time he saw West Side Story mirrored my own experience so much, down to the facts that he wanted to be a Jet and that he danced around his room to the soundtrack of West Side Story, that I was amazed two people in different parts of the country, at different times, could have such a similar experience. His discovery of the power and magic of theatre was also wonderfully reminiscent of my own experiences. The entire last half of the book, actually, is a beautiful description of discovery. Benjamin’s discovery of his own talents and his discovery of how he will fit into a rapidly changing world. Little moments that stand out for me are the showdown with the school bully and Benjamin’s use of the advice given to him by his protector, who had to leave school but wanted Benjamin to realize he had it within himself to fight the battle without his help. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the descriptions of rehearsals, opening nights and performances are beautiful memories of a time long past. His descriptions of a budding friendship with another outsider from school builds to a very moving and thoughtful end in the last chapters of the book. The buildup to the last chapters are filled with the joy of Benjamin realizing he could write songs and make people laugh and also have deep, beautiful friendships with other people. His maturity and growth in facing the problems in one of those friendships is a beautiful moment in the book.
Kritzer Time is a welcome addition to the Kritzer “ouvre”. It’s a well-written and quite touching look at a time gone by but beautifully remembered. Read the book (actually, read all three books - you don’t NEED to read them in order, but you will certainly have a good time doing it). You won’t regret it."
                                                               — Ben McLaughlin, New York, NY

"I finished reading Kritzer Time not five minutes ago, and I'm sitting here with a few lingering tears in my eyes. I must write this review before the magic begins to fade and I lose the words. Kritzer Time is a beautiful and fitting end to the Benjamin Kritzer trilogy. Kimmel brings the semi-autobiographical character from the innocence of childhood through the trials and tribulations of high school with sensitivity, reverence, and a great deal of humor.
The reader is granted a front row seat to watch as the boy becomes a young man. Anyone who grew up enamored with the arts will empathize with Benjamin as he struggles to find his own way in a world that largely doesn't understand him, and will celebrate with him as he finds a place of acceptance and appreciation for his unique talents.

Whether you grew up in Los Angeles or not, you will identify with Benjamin as he watches his childhood home grow and change, and realizes that he too is changing along with it.

If you haven't read first two books, read them first! Then read Kritzer Time and enjoy..."                                           — Ann Silver, Tacoma, WA

Reader reviews from Amazon.com : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

"I refuse to see Mr Kimmel’s Kritzer books as three novels but three sections of a great biographical novel, just as Mr Dickens, Mr Dumas and others wrote large-scale novels in installments. The three Benjamin Kritzer novels are Mr Kimmel’s DAVID COPPERFIELD, and just as crammed with eccentrics, villains, saints, and heroes. KRITZER TIME resonates on many levels: Benjamin Kritzer, our eponymous hero, progresses through high school, develops more of his talents, endures more losses and gains, suffers more humiliation and embarassment from his Martian family, learns to love, learns he is not alone in the scheme of the cosmos, and comes out a winner. We’ve all been there and we’ve all suffered our adolescent angst, but we should all suffer with such excellent humor."
                                            — Larry Moore, New York, NY

"Up until recently, if someone would have asked me who my favorite adolescent in literature was I'd answer either Huckleberry Finn or Holden Caulfield. Well now Huck can take another trip down the river and Holden (and Phoebe) can go look for the Central Park birds year round, because Benjamin Kritzer is here. Benjamin is the subject of a trilogy of books by Bruce Kimmel, previously known as an actor (just about every major 70s sitcom), filmmaker (THE FIRST NUDIE MUSICAL) and Grammy-nominated CD producer (cast albums, Broadway-related material and jazz). As good as he was in those endeavors --- and he was one of the best ---, I hope he continues to write, as that is where he really shines. I loved the first two books BENJAMIN KRITZER and KRITZERLAND, but they were just preludes to his masterpiece KRITZER TIME, for although Benjamin Kritzer was an interesting child, by the time he reached his teens (KRITZERLAND ends at Benjamin's Bar Mitzvah and KRITZER TIME follows immediately and goes through his high school graduation) he really came into his own.

KRITZER TIME is less about his family --- although they still play an important part --- and more about Benjamin's discovery of musical theatre (both as a participant and an observer) and original cast recordings, plus his continued love of movies. It was obviously well researched as he writes about plays that were in Los Angeles during the early 60s, where and when he grew up and movies at the correct time they were released. But the book is far more than an "and then I saw" recollection. It's about Benjamin's growing up and learning about life and loss. One of his favorite movie theatres is turned into a synagogue and Benjamin is quite upset.

One loss Benjamin felt in the first book, his best friend/first girlfriend Susan, plays a small but important part in KRITZER TIME. And then there is Samantha, who I don't want to say any more about so as not to spoil anything for future readers.

This is the kind of book that had me laughing one minute and in tears the next (both tears of joy at times and tears of sorrow at others). And while I strongly recommend that readers begin with BENJAMIN KRITZER and KRITZERLAND both for the enjoyment they bring and the background information they give for KRITZER TIME, the third book does stand on its own. My only minor complaint about BENJAMIN KRITZER was that is was so short it was over as soon as it began. My only minor complaint about KRITZERLAND was that its ending screamed 'another book is coming'. I have no complaints about KRITZER TIME. It is the perfect book."
                                         — William E. Lurie, New York, NY

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