In Revere, In Those Days

In Revere, In Those Days

by Roland Merullo

Anne Ferber (06/25/12): This is my Favorite Merullo book so far (I've read seven) and should definitely be on everyone's must read list. Although I am not Italian American and have never been to Revere Beach, Massachusetts, I feel like this family is so much a part of the American Dream, it could stand in for all of us who have experienced an American childhood surrounded by a loving family and community. If you have not been that fortunate, just read this book and become a part of it. It allows that.

Anthony Benedetto lives in this working class community on the Massachusetts shore -- with boardwalk and amusement park -- surrounded by 40 or so family members: aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. At age 10, he tragically loses his parents in an airline crash, and the story is basically his coming of age with family members standing in for those he sorrowfully grieves over. Especially poignant is his relationship with his paternal grandfather and his uncle Peter. Merullo paints these characters with a master's brush making them comical and tragic from the point of view of their own expectations, successes and failures.

Through these family members, Anthony, a smart, innocent and inquiring young man is given the opportunity to escape the limitations of a working class community, by getting a scholarship to Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and by learning the uncommon skill of ice hockey (uncommon in Revere, at least). His grandfather's influence on building his character is truly a marvel of writing.

See if you can read this without a blinking back of the tear ducts. This is a truly rewarding reading experience.
Rating: *****

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