‘Yonkers Yonkers!’: Patricia Vaccarino’s New Book Explores Racial Tensions and Friendship during Woodstock

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Author and PR specialist Patricia Vaccarino’s new book, YONKERS Yonkers! A Story of Race and Redemption, is an enriching and beautiful narrative of friendship, breaking social boundaries, and music. In the time of Woodstock, the Vietnam War, the Rolling Stones and more, YONKERS Yonkers! looks at social and racial conventions of a tumultuous and changing time period.

Concetta Mary Bernadette Colangelo, aka Cookie, is not your typical protagonist. Small-time drug dealer, and big-time trouble, she may be a self-described gangster, but there’s nothing she wants more than to go to Woodstock and meet Alan ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson from the band Canned Heat, whom she thinks she looks like, and believes will understand her in a way no one else can. With a mentally ill mother, and a father too unprepared to take care of Cookie and her sister, Cookie knows she’s in way over her head. But everything starts to change for her when she runs into, and keeps running into the shy Herman Lynch, a black B-boy with no formal dance training. While the other boys think he’s not black enough, Cookie’s friends think she’s not white enough, and slowly, over time, they become friends, no matter the hardships societal conventions places on their friendship.

Set against the backdrop of Woodstock, Janis Joplin, Canned Heat, and Jimi Hendrix, the friendship between Cookie and Herman, as well as the tensions of racial prejudice are highlighted and amplified by the music threaded throughout the pages of this book. In addition, the Yonkers Carnegie Library plays one of the most important roles in this book, serving as a place of hope, offering Cookie books, and inspiring her to find something more, while becoming a place that strengthens her relationship with Herman, and herself.

YONKERS Yonkers! is a compelling story of working-class life in the 1960s and 70s, beautifully exploring racial prejudices and social mindsets. Cookie is both a gangster and a hippie, and her friendship with Herman is such a pleasure to read. From author, film script writer, and public relations specialist Patricia Vaccarino, YONKERS Yonkers! A Story of Race and Redemption is one you won’t want to miss.

YONKERS Yonkers! A Story of Race and Redemption will be released on March 15, 2018. If you’re interested in reading other works by author Patricia Vaccarino, please take a look at her other books, fiction and nonfiction, below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Image courtesy of amazon.com

Patricia Vaccarino is originally from Yonkers, New York. After college, she traveled across the country in a battered Chevy Impala on I-40 and up the California coast on Pacific Highway 101 to “see America” and landed in Seattle, where she worked as a paralegal in antitrust law, and later went to law school. She began writing professionally–articles, copy, scripts, and press releases and was asked by a film production company, Kaye Smith Productions (founded by Seattle businessman Lester Smith and Hollywood celebrity Danny Kaye), to do their Public Relations outreach—that was her start in P.R. Patricia Vaccarino owns Xanthus Communications, a national P.R. firm, and the media companyPR for People®, where people share their news with the world. Patricia Vaccarino has written award-winning film scripts, press materials, content, books, essays and articles.

 

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Rachel Fogle De Souza was born and raised in Connecticut, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, parts of Asia, and the United States, before attending college at the University of California, Davis, where she received a B.A. in Comparative Literature, with a double minor in Women, Gender and Sexualities studies, and Middle Eastern/South Asian studies. When she's not writing, she's reading, boxing, or thinking about traveling.