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Lunatic Heroes Paperback – August 31, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: 3 Swallys Press; 1St Edition edition (August 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988230003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988230002
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,020,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lunatic Heroes: Memories, Lies and Reflections
By C. Anthony Martnetti

In the introduction to Lunatic Heroes by C. Anthony Martignetti, singer/songwriter/musician/rockstar Amanda Palmer writes, "Anthony is a therapist, and a good listener."

That succinct characterization, included in a moving introduction about her lifelong relationship with Martignetti, whom she has known as a "mentor," "guru," [and] "best friend" since she was nine years old, describes in accurate and deliberate understatement the narrative voice of this powerful storyteller in his book, Lunatic Heroes. The title, which refers to his boyhood family, in reality, of course, describes all of us who suffer as fellow captives in the Human Condition.

This collection of stories both long and short amounts to a memoir of Martignetti's youth, growing up in the outskirts of Boston amid his Italian-American forebears. A sensitive boy who often felt isolated and outcast, his innate discomfort and alienation was reflected in early habits of nail-biting, self-afflicted hickeys, and a general resistance to most of the food his family routinely ate, "including, but not limited to: whole-roasted goat head ... pigs' feet, congealed blood pie, baby cow stomachs ... [and] "[g]arlic, garlic, and more garlic, garlic out your butt." As a result he was routinely insulted and beaten by his narcissistic mother, who would at other times smother him in love he craved, but whose mood would rarely last the day without including a dark turn. "Home was the place of love's promise," Martignetti observes, "and also the place where the wounds of love churned.
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Format: Paperback
So much this Irish Catholic identified with in this deeply moving memoir of an Italian-American growing up in North End of Boston and elsewhere in New England. 15 essays, that take checkpoints from childhood to the death of the author's mother, arouse hilarity and heartbreak in equal measure. I was introduced to characters that are odd, eccentric, fat, stem-skinny, comical, wise, lunatic, and heroic, and when I was done, I knew them, and I miss them. Subtitled "Memories, Lies and Reflections," I couldn't help recognizing that, within the lies the author might be referring to, there are deep emotional truths. Given the dark and sometimes disconcerting tales, surprisingly enough, I found it all comforting. Sharing nostalgia with a time and place I didn't know, but recognized, and a time and place I know now. Reading to know I'm not alone; very, very enjoyable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolutely mesmerizing in how Martignetti takes memories and paints them so vividly with his words that you could swear you were there. Even in the darker ones where you wish you weren't, wish (like the toad) that you could not be there, because witnessing it is almost as bad as being a part of it. It made me want to hug Martignetti in the various stages of his life and made me exult when he describes the peaceful balance of his now wife and the incredible lightness that comes from the love of a dog. His stories have the power to pull you back on your own life, to remember things about yourself or others that reflect some portion of his own story and throughout the book this theme of reflection seems purposeful as if Martignetti is asking all of us to reflect. Not just on our histories but to reflect our loved ones, and to reflect others so we can try to hate less and love more, which is what we all need. Honestly some of the most powerful non-fiction I have read in as many years as I can remember. A book I will most definitely thrust into the hands of friends and urge them to read it, so they go and buy their own copy to pay it forward.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Lunatic Heroes: Memories, and Reflections by C. Anthony Martignetti

I read "Lunatic Heroes" not really understanding what I was getting into. I ordered this book and his next book through an offer on his website. I know of him through Amanda Palmer who writes about her relationship with him as her mentor and friend in her book and she also writes the preface of Lunatic Heroes.

The book is a series of stories from Martignetti's childhood with all of the many faceted characters that played roles in his personal life growing up. He pulls no punches in allowing us to see these characters through the eyes of a young boy at a time when life appeared more peaceful than it actually was. Appearances were paramount in the 1950's and the reader is met head on in this matter by his choice of cover photo. The theme of appearances weighs heavy on the young Martignetti and we get a unique view of this from a gifted writer who is brave enough to show us how this weight impacted his world as a child in a candid and charming manner.

It wasn't long before the stories of Martignetti's childhood had me enthralled. He is a gifted storyteller and has a way of capturing the tone of the time of his youth without relying on popular culture references but leaning into a common point of association for any child growing up using his acute memory of what these experiences felt like as a boy. This allows for a rich resonance in the stories that will appeal to anyone who has any recollection of their childhood at all. This is not a jolly romp but a rich mining; a charming and sometimes humorous yet courageous telling of one boy's rich, chaotic and dysfunctional youth. I highly recommend it.
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