From the 1960’s to present day, Confessions of an Honest Man, by Arthur Rosch follows young jazz musician through the streets of New York and San Francisco through the jazz circuit of bars and clubs with famous musicians such as John “Avian” Coltrane and Zoot Prestige. It follows Aaron through the struggling childhood where he has to fight for anything that matters to him to become first, a mildly successful jazz musician, then a washed up heroin addict, into a recovering addict trying to straighten out the mess that his life had become, and miraculously overnight, a very successful jazz musician through a turn of fate. Aaron Kantro has some help along the way as he learns to love and be loved. He is guided by his mentor and fellow jazz musician, Zoot Prestige, then from a little dog, named Diz, who was for a while, his only friend and companion, as well as Zoot’s spirit once he passes and the spirits of others whom he has known in life.
It is a thought provoking story of a family afflicted by abuse, mental illness, depression and drug addiction. It’s the story of what can happen when we chose to defy the odds stacked against us and struggle to survive, and maybe even thrive, if we’re lucky. It is the story of Aaron Kantros, a boy who fell in love at a very young age, and his emotionally abusive mother, who was an abused child herself, his father, struggling to hold all of their lives together without a clue of how to achieve his goal, his younger brother, filled with anger and resentment, and his two sisters, illustrating their very different, individual methods of coping.
Confessions of an Honest Man is not just about the characters. It’s about a time, an era, where there is very little knowledge about, or help for dysfunctional families and doctors freely handed out whatever pills they thought might make your problem go away, and if those pills caused other problems? An era in which you looked after your own and people didn’t look too closely at one another. An era of racial biases, sexual biases, hypocrisies and prejudices. An era of jazz in its purest form.
Confessions of an Honest Man is written with compelling honesty and soul. He creates characters that are so real and relatable, that the disclaimer, “All characters are fictional”, is necessary because Rosch makes it easy for us to believe that they lived. He captures the essence of time and place, creating events with vivid clarity within the mind’s eye. This story will move readers with emotion, touching hearts and stirring the empathy in all of us. I give Confessions of an Honest Man five quills.
Other books by Arthur Rosch include The Road Has Eyes – An RV, a Relationship and a Wild Ride, and The Gods of the Gift.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read, and she never charges for them. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.