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Gay Italian life,
This review is from: Twisted Head: An Italian American Memoir (Hardcover)
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The title of this book comes from a literal translation of the author's last name: Capotorto means "twisted head" and this is a sweet memoir of growing up Italian in the Bronx of the 1960s and 70s. the first several chapters convey a vivid sense of the hierarchies within Italian families and communities. A particularly vivid portrait of the author's "love/hate" relationship with his autocratic father (his usual "modes of punishment and abuse were verbal and psychological") emerges as the book progresses, as well as a detailed account of the day to day workings of Cappi's Pizza and Sangwheech Shoppe" that his father owned and where he worked as a young man.
As in nearly all Italian memoirs, there's lots of food here: descriptions of grandma making cavatelli (if you're a New York Italian you know this is an authentic description because he reminds us that we pronounced "cavatelli" "gavadel'), pizza fritta, foccacia, crabs, and more. Capotorto writes with a lively wit and sense of humor, and the uniqueness of the book may reside in his descriptions of being a gay man in a culture that is generally quite macho. It's a fun although the whole is less satisfying than many individual episodes.