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The Last Catholic in America (Loyola Classics) Paperback – August 1, 2005
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First Confession and its terrors. First grade with eighty-four other students and one nun to rule them all.
The agony and the ecstasy of Lent. The Worst Altar Server Ever. Dinah Shore and the Blessed Virgin, haunting your dreams.
This is Eddie Ryan’s world—the intensely Catholic world of Chicago’s Seven Holy Tombs neighborhood and St. Bastion’s parish in the 1950s. In this classic coming-of-age novel, John Powers draws readers into Eddie Ryan’s world with bittersweet humor and deep affection.
From the Back Cover
“It is fast-moving and often downright funny.”—New York Times
“He has recaptured childish innocence and presented it with adult enlightenment—plus a touch of cynicism—yet never with irreverence.”
—Book-of-the-Month Club News
First confession and its terrors. Eighty-four first graders in a classroom ruled by just one nun. The agony and the ecstasy of Lent. The dubious honor of being declared the worst altar server ever. Dinah Shore and the Blessed Virgin haunting your dreams. This is Eddie Ryan’s world as he grows up in the intensely Catholic world of South-Side Chicago’s St. Bastion’s parish in the 1950s. In this classic coming-of-age novel, John Powers draws readers into Eddie Ryan’s world with deep affection and bittersweet humor.
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Top Customer Reviews
His writing is very funny. One of my favorite chapters in here is when Eddie Ryan (the alter ego of the author) goes into a book store looking for a "dirty book." He was given advice on how to look for one by his friend, Felix "The Filth Fiend" Linder. When Eddie finds what he thinks is a good dirty book, he yells out, "I found a dirty book!" Unfortunately, he yelled a little too loud, and the store owner throws him out. I'm not going to give away the ending to this story, but trust me, you'll like it.
One caveat, though. This book is likely to be carried by Catholic bookstores. That's where I bought my copy, actually. And some people who see it at a Catholic bookstore may be expecting a Michael O'Brien type novel. Trust me, it's not. Powers does not care much for the faith in which he was raised, and it shows in his writing. OK, he likes the Catholic faith in a nostalgic sense perhaps, but he obviously no longer believes in the doctrines he was raised in. His exploration of faith is limited to episodes which he sees as examples of the deficiencies of Catholicism.
That said, this is a well-written book, and well-worth reading. Fans of humorous writing will particularly enjoy it. Overall, 4 out of 5.
I am happy to see this title back in print!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
having gone to a catholic grade school in the 50-60's, this book was spot on. You will be laughing on the 1st page. A very quick read tooPublished 21 days ago by John Schroeder
All of John Powers books make me laugh until tears run down my cheeks! Highly recommend, especially to anyone who attended Catholic grade and high schools. Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. F. Gorton
As a Catholic school student in the 50's and 60's I thought that I would connect with this book but it just didn't happen. Too much parody and what seemed like cheap humor to me. Read morePublished 7 months ago by michael hartzler
I expected more, being Catholic. I was a little disappointed. The story was a little flat.Published 7 months ago by Libra
If you grew up in a Catholic environment in the 1950s this book will give you a chance to relive your early childhood. Read morePublished 12 months ago by jlove
My Catholic grade school experience lasted the full eight years. Then I turned down a musical scholarship, and never went back. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kindle Customer