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The Namesake by [Parlato, Steven]
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The Namesake Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Length: 290 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Fifteen-year-old Evan Galloway is struggling to deal with his father's recent suicide, but going to the same Catholic school that his father attended and dealing with his mother's emotional detachment don't make it any easier. So when his grandmother gives him a footlocker that belonged to his father, Evan is all too eager to discover some answers to his nagging questions. He expects to find old posters and mementos, but what he doesn't count on is finding his dad's old journals. As Evan goes on a journey to connect with his late father, he makes a chilling discovery that as a boy, his father was sexually molested by a Catholic priest, and Evan is able to slowly piece together the role this played in the man's suicide. The story is powerful, and the plot is well crafted, but the writing alternates between choppy and engaging, and the dialogue often feels forced. The story is slow to unfold, and reluctant readers are unlikely to push past the first few pages. Committed and patient readers, however, will take something away from this thoughtful coming-of-age story.-Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Hartford Public Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"Parlato constructs an introspective debut about the aftershocks of family trauma. Evan's journey ... is complex and solidly woven. Parlato's ... ambitious, well-executed plot twists and nimbly handled cast make him a name to watch." --Publishers Weekly

"Before his father killed himself, [Evan's] home life was pretty normal.... Now there's a hole in that life that can't be filled or explained. Parlato's debut a painstaking dissection of a father's past and its reverberations in his son's life. A memorable, disturbing story, carefully wrought." --Kirkus Reviews

"Steven Parlato's The Namesake is an emotionally stimulating young adult novel that delves into the powerful topic of abuse. Using dry wit, incredible similes and metaphors, and a very thought-provoking storyline, Parlato introduces the reader to an original and unforgiving exploration of the teenage psyche." --Blogcritics

"Steven Parlato's The Namesake totally knocked me off my feet. This is the type of book that keeps you reading, especially if you enjoy dark humor. It's jarring to be sure, but well worth your time." --Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

"The novel shapes up to be one of the best contemporary reads I have ever read. The further I got into the book, the more I became convinced that [the author] was a genius with his writing. The characters were all perfectly laid out. I was able to connect with each and every one of them." - The Subtle Chronicler

Product Details

  • File Size: 1501 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Merit Press (December 18, 2012)
  • Publication Date: December 18, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,455 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Steven Parlato has tackled two difficult subjects, suicide and sexual abuse, with grace, humor and brutal honesty.

Evan Galloway, protagonist of the story, delves into the past to try to unravel why his father committed suicide. In the process he digs up not only painful family secrets but the sordid history of the high school he attends, St. Sebastian.

It's not always an easy story to read, Parlato's prose pulls us into realms we'd rather not admit exist. It is graphic but not explicit in its portrayal of sexual abuse. Just when we think we can't face anymore, Parlato pokes holes in the tension with a moment of Evan's sarcasm or the wit of his best friend, Alexis. And somehow, through it all, the author manages to write a story exposing the failings of those who serve the church without casting God as the villain. Instead, it is God's grace that ultimately triumphs.

Although this may be considered a YA novel, the expert weaving together of teen angst and family drama make this an excellent read for any age.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I bought this book because the cover appealed to me. To keep myself out of a literary rut I do that occasionally.
I would never have guessed how much darkness lurked behind the light at the end of the pictured hallway.
This is a very tough review to write. One does NOT enjoy a story like this.
However, the truth is that this is one beautifully written book and deals with deeply depressing subject matter in an honest, sensitive, truthful fashion. I am an older adult and have a very difficult time hearing/reading of rape and sexual abuse, especially of children.
The protagonist's story is heartbreakingly difficult--his father's suicide would have been bad enough, but what he discovers is simply wretched.
The author handles all of the difficult situations, and the characters lives and hearts carefully and with respect as he spins his tale. I came to love Evan and deeply empathize with his painful journey. While I literally wept and felt sick during some of the passages, the book was well worth reading.
There is hope, grace and redemption in this novel, and it is much appreciated by the time we realize how much horror is present.

I would NOT give this book to a young/innocent teen, nor would I give to a teen already struggling with deep depression or anxiety or defeatism. There is simply too much unpleasantness and I could see it completely overwhelming someone already on the edge.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm not really sure why this book callled to me as on the surface it doesn't really seem like a "Stephanie" book. It's a male narrator dealing with grief and some very dark subjects in a literary novel fashion. But it is contemporary YA mostly set in a high school and featuring religious questioning so maybe those were elements I somehow sensed.

My rating for this book is largely based on personal enjoyment, which was not very high for this book. It is dark: the book opens with the narrator reflecting on his father's suicide and that hangs over the entire book as Evan delves into his father's tortured past (if I mention that his father was an altar boy, you might be able to figure out some of what he endured). I do not tend to like dark books and there were many difficult passages for me.

As for the writing, I thought this book had a more literary quality unlike a lot of YA, which tends to lean commercially in my opinion. However some of the characterizations felt off. Evan is supposed to be very smart (having skipped at least one grade) but I didn't really get that impression from him. He was more sensitive than some of his peers but intellectually, he seemed average. His best friend Lex has had some trauma in her past and I thought the reveal of that darkness wasn't handled as well as it could have been (I don't want to reveal spoilers) although by the end, it was almost completely laid bare.

Another element that was hard for me was just the formatting. This book isn't divided into chapters but every few pages, there are section breaks. I would have preferred for each of those sections to be turned into chapters. This is a very odd little personal preference that probably wouldn't bother anyone else.

Overall: A warning that this book is definitely on the dark side and more suited for older readers. Definitely check out some other reviews to see if this one might be right for you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As everyone else has indicated in their reviews, this book deals with some seriously heavy subject matters. Reading it, I found myself having visceral reactions, forcing me to put the book aside and pause before I could continue -- but while this made reading The Namesake 'hard', it in no way made it 'bad'. Parlato does a beautiful job of showing the trauma's of his characters, and while I have seen some people, in their review, claim that he goes too far, or that the last thing teens need is another novel about abuse and suicide, I strongly disagree with them. Firstly, is is abundantly clear to the reader that Parlato has taken the utmost care in how he depicts these themes in his novel; they are disturbing, by their very nature, and verge on graphic, but they are never gratuitous. Secondly, the whole point of YA lit is to write something that young readers can relate to, even learn from: who are we to judge and say that a young adult -- or even a grown adult! -- will not pick up this novel and find some kind of catharsis? Also, having said that, the book is not purely one of pain, ending, in fact, on a rather uplifting note! As a Catholic I was initially concerned when reading and learning about the story of Evan's father's abuse, but Parlato is not writing an attack on the Church. It is clear, through the message of sustained Faith despite the sorrows and traumas, that the novel actually serves as a testament to the Evan's Belief, ending on a note of hope.
Very moving piece of literature.
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