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Years ago I read a novel, set in London, about a poor young man, I believe the son of Jewish immigrants, who started with a pushcart and rose to become a prosperous businessman. I can't remember anything about it except his first sexual experience, when a street-wise girl put her hand down his pants and he was so flustered that he came right away.

Recently my son loaned me the book A Matter of Honor by Jeffrey Archer, and I told him I'd read it years ago, thinking it was the same book. Of course I was wrong. I only mention this because what's driving me crazy is how I've conflated these books in my memory, and what was the book that I'm trying to recollect. I think it was very much an 80's book.

Can anyone help me?

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  • Is there any more you can remember about the book? Where it is set for example (the country at least if not the city), whether it was a new release when you read it and how long ago that might be? The eighties were stuffed full of rags to riches novels about captains of industry from humble beginnings, was it one of them? – Spagirl Nov 17 '17 at 14:48
  • The story was set in London. I think it was very much an 80's book, and you point out that the rags-to-riches thing was in vogue at that time. I remember virtually nothing about it except that years later when I saw the Jeffrey Archer novel I was quite sure it was the same book. So I wonder what the psychological connection was for me? – Marty Green Nov 17 '17 at 15:46
  • Have you checked out the synopses of other Jeffery Archer books? 'Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less' seems to have a character which could match, but when I had a cursory search of a version on Google Books I didn't get any hits in the text for either 'pants' or 'trousers'! – Spagirl Nov 17 '17 at 15:58
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    Of course! Not the one you said..."A Penny More..." but a different Jeffrey Archer book. I looked up the list of Jeffrey Archer book, and it was "As The Crow Flies". That's the book. Same author. (And the tiltle of both books starts with the letter "A".) – Marty Green Nov 17 '17 at 19:33
  • So, why not post that as your own answer? You did the legwork and should have the credit I’ll upvote your answer. – Spagirl Nov 17 '17 at 21:15
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Jeffrey Archer's novel As the Crow Flies, originally published in 1991, fits the description fairly well:

  • "a poor young man": this is implicit in "one man's rise from rags to riches" (Goodreads);
  • "pushcart": Wikipedia: "barrow costermonger" (i.e. a street merchant);
  • "son of Jewish immigrants": Wikipedia mentions several Jewish characters but does not mention whether the main character is Jewish; neither do the descriptions by Pan Macmillan, Goodreads or on Kirkus Reviews;
  • "become a prosperous businessman": Charlie Trumper manages to build a business empire;
  • "first sexual experience": ?;
  • "very much an 80's book": As the Crow Flies was published in 1991, which seems close enough, but the events span over sixty years, beginning before World War I.

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