Nunzilla Was My Mother and My Stepmother Was a Witch Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Reading about life in St. Vincent's was eerily reminiscent of reading "Oliver Twist," with orphanage life being remarkably similar in some ways to life in the children's workhouses of 19th century England. Reading about the harsh treatment by some of the nuns, the wretched food, and the spartan living conditions made me extra grateful for growing up with two loving parents. And I understand why Ms. Silver refers to the nuns as "Nunzilla" in the title of her book.
Life at the OS&SO, a secular institution run by the State of Ohio, was much different and much better than at St. Vincent's. Children were much freer there, and living conditions and food were much improved compared to St. Vincent's. But even there, as the author hated some particularly cruel nuns at St.Read more ›
That said, the author tells a story so intriguing in its truth that I found it difficult to put it down. As soon as I finished it, I read it again.
If anyone doubts the story just as the author wrote it, please reconsider. My husband, his older sister and younger brother grew up in a different orphanage in a different part of the country around the same time. Many of their experiences were much the same as Terry's, including emotional trauma, isolation from the mainstream community, and encounters with orphanage employees who should never have been hired to work around children.
However, they also attained a foundation of self-discipline, tolerance, and perserverance that has served them well in adulthood.
Excellent writing, well-edited and formatted. Highly recommend!
After all these decades, Silver remains hostile to (most of) the nuns who ran the two Catholic orphanages, albeit her bitterness has become muted somewhat upon reflection. She remembers a few happy times, and a few worthy nuns, but most of them she still regards as religious fanatics and neurotic, sadistic tyrants. Hence the term "nunzilla." Deprived of love, hungry all the time, nevertheless she, and many of her fellow orphans, struggled on and survived in their irrepressible youth.
Their Catholic-related experiences were often self-contradictory. The nuns were full of hatred and fear concerning the human body, and anything pleasurable, yet they sat through Hollywood movies with the children, romantic episodes, luxurious life-styles and all, and did no more than avert their eyes during, e.g., kissing scenes. The children were terrified of incurring God's wrath, yet they enjoyed, e.g., reading comic books while supposedly at their devotions.
I think most children are like that, but Catholic kids in this poverty-haunted orphanage some 80 years ago were all the more so.
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphanage was a far pleasanter experience, though Terry initially feared contact with Protestants and secular temptations, against which the nuns had warned her. There was also one dreadful housemother--the "witch" in the book's title. Yet again, Terry won through, an academic success, though scarred by the ham-handed attentions of the Home's psychologist.Read more ›
Food was scarce (but as it turns out, the orphanage survived on donations, and Terry was living through the Depression, though she didn't know it at the time.) Education was good--if you could stand the ridicule and bad treatment. Terry's family was singled out for especially terrible treatment, and she didn't understand why, even later as an adult, when many mysteries of her childhood were explained to her, including her very name being changed from "Concetta" to "Terfina", a name she despised.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My mother was raised by nuns....she shared some of her experiences with us. That is why I was attracted to read the book. But it was so much funnier than I expected. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rosemary
I had family in St. Vincent's orphanage and was grateful to have a look into what it was like. The stories I had heard seemed just like the experiences dealt with by the Author. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Anaka F. Kagen
This book was easy to read and enjoyable. I really felt for the characters but I would have liked to have known more about the authors adult life.Published on April 28, 2014 by Rowanna
This book was well written and interesting. I went to a catholic grade school and wondered how her experience would compare. Read morePublished on September 3, 2013 by Bev D.
I really enjoyed the story and only wished she had continued the events of her life after leaving school. Great human interest story.Published on August 16, 2013 by susie
It was an insight into another time. I felt for the children in the orphanage.
A true story with a sense of hope inbedded in it.
Although I truly enjoyed the humor, this book reads more like a "list" than a story. I appreciate the auhor wanting to tell what happened to her but it could have been... Read morePublished on May 16, 2011 by Amazon Customer
Terry Silver hit the nail right on the head with this one. It convinced me that I was so fortunate to grow up in a home with good parents. Read morePublished on April 5, 2011 by Dennis Blanchard
Although I did not grow up in an orphanage, I was able to relate to much of her story about their behavior and the teachings of the Catholic church. Read morePublished on February 16, 2011 by pipparina
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