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In Revere, In Those Days [Paperback]

Roland Merullo
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 14 2003 Vintage Contemporaries
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.

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From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-This '60s and '70s coming-of-age story centers on Anthony Benedetto, who grew up in Revere, a working-class, Italian-American suburb of Boston with a gritty edge. When Tony is orphaned at 10, his family embraces him in a warmth that sometimes weighs heavy. Raised by his grandparents, with his Uncle Pete always at hand, the boy becomes the dutiful son, a superachiever, and a promising artist. As children, Tony and Rosie, Pete's daughter, are inseparable, but when her mother deserts her family, the girl drifts away from Tony, despite his unfailing devotion. Encouraged by Grandpa Dom, supported by Uncle Pete's big win at the racetrack, and with help from his parish priest, Tony gets a scholarship to Exeter. But Rosie is irresistibly drawn into an affair with a budding mobster, and slides into a world of brutality, drugs, and crime. Anthony's adjustment at school is eased by his close friendship with his roommate, who is from the L.A. inner city, and by his skill at ice hockey, which earns him a place on the varsity team. His affair with an older widow briefly consumes him, but graduation culminates in a celebratory street party in Revere, marred only by Grandpa Dom's recent death and Rosie's deliberate absence. Beautifully written, both as omniscient remembrance and in the first person, with visual imagery and dialogue that bring readers from laughter to a lump in the throat, the author's skillful rendering of time, place, ethnic identity, and dialogue evokes Chaim Potok's work.
Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Captured my family and my soul! Jan. 7 2003
Maybe it is because I am from Revere, maybe it is because I am an Italian American, maybe it is because I am a sensitive woman, surely it is because Roland Merullo is an exceptional writer!
I felt like I was reading my history, and the history of my family as I was reading this story. The characters are all people I grew up with, the same insecurities, the same hopes and dreams, the same tragedies, and Mr. Merullo captured the heart and soul of life in a small town in America perfectly!
I absolutely love this story, these characters and I am so Proud that I am a Revere person.
I beg you to read this story and not laugh out loud and cry with your soul!
I don't know how to thank Mr. Merullo enough for his insight, his humor; his soul must know my soul and I am forever in his debt.
Debbi :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fine, fine novel. Oct. 5 2002
By A Customer
Never pay attention to the dust jacket, but on the back of the book, Anita Shreve says "I was moved to tears," and she probably wasn't lying. When Peter takes Anthony to Exeter, when Lydia says goodbye, when Peter sings, it is hard to stop the tears from welling. Although the book is Anthony's coming of age story, it is mostly a portrait of Peter Benedetto, Anthony's tough, ex-boxer uncle. We see him in such intricate detail, from his fractured family life, to his not-quite-successful boxing career, to his life on the fringe, to his own sense of failure even though it is hard to imagine anyone more beloved by his family and community, that it is easy to forget that the story is Anthony's. Watching Anthony grow up in the background, the reader is right to focus on Uncle Peter. Merullo has written a wonderful book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Merullo's idea for America March 23 2003
"Revere Beach, In Those Days" is the beautiful story of young Anthony Benedetto's spiritual journey that confirms his love for his Italian-American family even as he must cut many ties with the place and people of his childhood. It is the kind of rare book that made me want to reread it immediately. It would be a great choice for a book club; there are so many levels to it to be discussed, pondered. Anthony's unforgettable Grandfather has an idea for his grandson that helps him find his way in life. Merullo's idea for America is to rediscover the spiritual realm and to temper its hunger for the material one. How appropriate that Merullo is a Massachusetts writer. His story is told so elegantly that he makes masterful writing feel easy. One can only hope that he will write more books like this one. Encore!
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5.0 out of 5 stars In Revere In Those Days May 20 2003
By A Customer
This was a very intelligently written book, by a very remarkable
author. This book spoke to all my emotions. I laughed, cryed, smiled, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also could relate to it, even though I am not from the Revere area. My husband is from East Boston, so I could see the similarities.
I would like to say that I have read all the books with Revere in the title, however, I think Roland Merullo is such a fantastic author, that the masses have to read him, and I think if his titles did not include the city of Revere he would have a larger audience. I hope he does continue to write for it is truely his forte! I look forward to reading his books to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Prodound, A Wonderful Read, and Haunting Oct. 17 2002
This really is a wonderful book. The question is, what makes it so wonderful, and such a pleasure to read? First, I think it is the sensibility of the author, which is at once wise and so lively as to seem like life on steroids. Also, I think that it comes from experience that is perfectly perceived, and the experience here is so essentially American. The characters are alive and touching, and there were times, in reading this book, when I found myself overwhelmed by the hard, real, recognizable humanity that Merullo has portrayed. This, surely, is the true test of any book. This novel reafirms my belief in American fiction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best novel I have read in years Dec 30 2003
By A Customer
"In Revere, In Those Days" is the best novel I have read in years...sensitive, dreamy, with all the love and rough edges of growing up, and all the hopes and sorrows of adulthood. Merullo just draws you in to the Benedetto family and Revere. The story is told through Anthony's eyes and the family emerges and developes as Anthony matures and understands his clan with more clarity. Despite the troubles that surround his Uncle Peter and his cousin Rosalie the love and care that root the Benedettos are evident. It's a tale of another time, another place, that any baby-boomer will recognize.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful wonderful story
This book captured my attention immediately, and before long it captured my heart as well.
His honest, open, excellent portrayals of characters and events made it all come... Read more
Published on April 28 2003 by Maddalena
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
I had to keep reminding myself that this was a work of fiction, the characters seemed so real. I was moved to tears many times. I highly recommend this book.
Published on March 2 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars In Revere
I'm sixty years old. I was brought up in Revere, (Beachmont) I had tears in my eyes all though the book. How are you to read in that condition? Good book, damm great book. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2003 by David Zaslow
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must Read"
This book is a "Must Read," one of the very best novels I have read in the last decade. Every page held phrases and paragraphs I wanted to read and re-read, so rich were... Read more
Published on Dec 14 2002 by Jean H
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving Story...
Merullo captured my hometown perfectly. I was moved by the portrait of the Italian working class in Revere Mass. He tells the story of the American experience and dream. Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2002 by Leanne M Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Finely crafted story
This is a memorable read featuring well developed characters and a finely crafted story. Similar to Nino Ricci's trilogy, Merullo adds a dimension of warmth and humor to his... Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2002
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