In this richly evocative novel--the moving story of one boy's coming of age--acclaimed author Roland Merullo will make you nostalgic for a small Massachusetts city called Revere even if you've never been there. Providing a window into an unspoiled America of forty years ago, In Revere welcomes you to the fiercely loyal and devoted Italian-American family of the Benedettos.
Although he was orphaned as a child, young Anthony Benedetto was always surrounded by family, and the vibrant warmth of the Revere community. His Uncle Peter, a former Golden Gloves boxer whose days of glory were behind him, believed Tonio was bound for great things. So did his daughter Rosie, Tonio's favorite cousin, who would take many wrong turns--away from Tonio--through adolescence. His gentle grandparents, who took him in, encouraged him to claim a future outside of Revere, but the warm, unconditional love of his family, and the smells and sounds of Revere stay with him forever.
When 11-year-old Anthony Benedetto's parents die in an airplane crash, he is saved by the loving presence of his extended Italian family in this gracefully written coming-of-age novel. Set in the 1960s and moving from Anthony's parents' death through his experiences at an elite prep school, the novel is structured as a memoir and reads like one: long on nostalgia, short on dramatic conflict or credibility. Anthony's transition from smart but damaged kid to successful student at Exeter is too smooth to be compellingly real. Many scenes are predictable, such as when Anthony loses his virginity to an older, caring woman, but the portraits of his relatives and the Boston suburb of Revere are palpably full of life. Anthony's courtly grandparents are painfully aware of the culture they left behind in Italy; Uncle Peter, a boxer lacking the ferocity to be a champion or mob "muscle," is richly drawn. And Anthony's cousin Rosalie is a troubled and ultimately tragic figure who deserves a book of her own. Merullo (Revere Beach Boulevard) is a talented writer with a fine, lyrical ear, and the book is rife with acute observations and powerful (if familiar) themes: loss, recovery, community. Ultimately, the narrative is limited by the elegiac tone; Merullo is content to bask in the glow of nostalgia instead of stoking his imagination into flame. National advertising, New England author tour.