Open Wounds by Joseph Lunievicz
Book description (from Goodreads) –
Cid Wymann, a scrappy kid fighting to survive a harsh upbringing in Queens, NY, is 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.
Cid’s life is far from easy; living with a father who hates him and a grandmother who is anything but loving, Cid finds his only freedom through visits to the cinema to watch his favourite sword fighting heroes. Becoming a fencer is Cid’s dream and having imaginary sword fights with his two friends – Siggy and Tomik, keeps that dream alive. With an already fractured family life things get even worse for Cid when his father walks out abandoning him and his grandmother dies. Leaving his friends behind, Cid’s new home becomes St. Agnes orphanage where he resides for five years before a distant cousin, Lefty, comes to collect him.
Cid has never forgotten his dream of becoming a fencer and when Lefty informs him that he used to be an actor, Cid has a life changing moment. He decides that is what he wants to be too. The thought of acting on stage, performing sword fights, of playing the heroes that he has watched for years at the cinema, captivates Cid and all he wants, more than anything is to make that dream a reality.
Lefty encourages Cid’s pursuit of his dream by teaching him about acting, stage fighting and fencing and introduces him to, Nikolai Varvarinski, a talented fencer who agrees to train Cid. Cid begins a life changing journey in which he learns not only about the world of fencing and acting but also about life, friendship, honor and being your own hero.
Open Wounds is a beautifully written, elegantly told story full of emotion that will capture your heart and have you cheering for the main charater, Cid.
Author, Joseph Lunievicz, has a beautiful, very discriptive, visual writing style that gets to the heart of the characters. After reading just the first few pages of Open Wounds, I could already understand how hard Cid’s life was. Lunievicz has a way of capturing the emotions of the characters and bringing them to life. With such visual and detailed descriptions about New York and fencing, I often felt that I was right there with Cid in his world.
One of the things that I loved about this novel was the way in which Lunievicz let Cid’s story unfold. As the story progressed so did Cid. I could see him becoming stronger, more confident, more mature…he was fighting for himself, for his dreams and for his friends. The more I read about Cid, the more I liked him and I grew to really care about him. Swept up by the emotion of the story, there were a few times when I reached for the tissues and there was one line on the last page that touched my heart and that I think I will remember forever.
Open Wounds is the story of a young boy fighting for his future and his dreams, one that will stay with me for a long time.
*Thank you to Marissa DeCuir for providing me with a copy of Open Wounds to review.