Open Wounds by Joseph Lunievicz
Publisher: WestSide Books
Length: Full Length (344 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lavender
Cid Wymann, a scrappy kid fighting to survive a harsh upbringing in Queens, NY, is a almost a prisoner in his own home. His only escape is sneaking to Times Square to see Errol Flynn movies full of swordplay and duels. He s determined to become a great fencer, but after his family disintegrates, Cid spends five years at an orphanage until his injured war-veteran cousin Lefty arrives from England to claim him. Lefty teaches Cid about acting and stage combat, especially fencing, and introduces him to Nikolai Varvarinski, a brilliant drunken Russian fencing master who trains Cid. By 16, Cid learns to channel his aggression through the harsh discipline of the blade, eventually taking on enemies old and new as he perfects his skills. Evocative of The Book Thief with a dash of Gangs of New York, Open Wounds is the page-turning story of a lost boy’s quest to become a man.
Talk about courage. Cyd Wymann is a kid living in New York one could not soon forget. He grows up in harsh circumstances in the thirties and forties, and the things he sees and goes through are heart breaking. But what does he do to survive?
Open Wounds by Joseph Lunievicz is a memorable coming-of-age story. Many colorful characters such as Siggy, Tomik, and Betty, Leftie, Nikolai and others have their place here, but Cyd, young as he is, is a true hero. He constantly gets beat down in life but picks himself up, making the best of things. His story is inspirational and entertaining.
The vintage setting comes across naturally, as if coming right out of journal from the era. The language is smooth and appropriate for the hero telling his story. The writing is active, upfront, and straight to the point. There are beautifully descriptive moments putting the reader right in the scene.
A major theme is friendship, and the authentic form is shown here, forged through hard times. Other important themes—well written—are courage, loyalty, and family.
My heart went out to Cyd while reading, and I rooted for him as he went through his adventure. The exciting moments didn’t disappoint. The end was satisfying, but I can honestly see a sequel being written here. There is room for one.
The glossary of fencing terms in the back is helpful since fencing plays such a large part in Cyd’s life. But fencing isn’t a sport for him. It’s so much more. I got a new appreciation for it, a better understanding, not to mention for acting and war veterans as well.
This is not a romance but a young adult, vintage, adventurous story that I’d recommend to anyone loving those genres.