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In Revere, In Those Days: A Novel Hardcover – September 17, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Intrusion: A Novel
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When 11-year-old Anthony Benedetto's parents die in an airplane crash, he is saved by the loving presence of his extended Italian family in this gracefully written coming-of-age novel. Set in the 1960s and moving from Anthony's parents' death through his experiences at an elite prep school, the novel is structured as a memoir and reads like one: long on nostalgia, short on dramatic conflict or credibility. Anthony's transition from smart but damaged kid to successful student at Exeter is too smooth to be compellingly real. Many scenes are predictable, such as when Anthony loses his virginity to an older, caring woman, but the portraits of his relatives and the Boston suburb of Revere are palpably full of life. Anthony's courtly grandparents are painfully aware of the culture they left behind in Italy; Uncle Peter, a boxer lacking the ferocity to be a champion or mob "muscle," is richly drawn. And Anthony's cousin Rosalie is a troubled and ultimately tragic figure who deserves a book of her own. Merullo (Revere Beach Boulevard) is a talented writer with a fine, lyrical ear, and the book is rife with acute observations and powerful (if familiar) themes: loss, recovery, community. Ultimately, the narrative is limited by the elegiac tone; Merullo is content to bask in the glow of nostalgia instead of stoking his imagination into flame.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-This '60s and '70s coming-of-age story centers on Anthony Benedetto, who grew up in Revere, a working-class, Italian-American suburb of Boston with a gritty edge. When Tony is orphaned at 10, his family embraces him in a warmth that sometimes weighs heavy. Raised by his grandparents, with his Uncle Pete always at hand, the boy becomes the dutiful son, a superachiever, and a promising artist. As children, Tony and Rosie, Pete's daughter, are inseparable, but when her mother deserts her family, the girl drifts away from Tony, despite his unfailing devotion. Encouraged by Grandpa Dom, supported by Uncle Pete's big win at the racetrack, and with help from his parish priest, Tony gets a scholarship to Exeter. But Rosie is irresistibly drawn into an affair with a budding mobster, and slides into a world of brutality, drugs, and crime. Anthony's adjustment at school is eased by his close friendship with his roommate, who is from the L.A. inner city, and by his skill at ice hockey, which earns him a place on the varsity team. His affair with an older widow briefly consumes him, but graduation culminates in a celebratory street party in Revere, marred only by Grandpa Dom's recent death and Rosie's deliberate absence. Beautifully written, both as omniscient remembrance and in the first person, with visual imagery and dialogue that bring readers from laughter to a lump in the throat, the author's skillful rendering of time, place, ethnic identity, and dialogue evokes Chaim Potok's work.
Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (September 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609610325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609610329
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Revere Beach, In Those Days" is the beautiful story of young Anthony Benedetto's spiritual journey that confirms his love for his Italian-American family even as he must cut many ties with the place and people of his childhood. It is the kind of rare book that made me want to reread it immediately. It would be a great choice for a book club; there are so many levels to it to be discussed, pondered. Anthony's unforgettable Grandfather has an idea for his grandson that helps him find his way in life. Merullo's idea for America is to rediscover the spiritual realm and to temper its hunger for the material one. How appropriate that Merullo is a Massachusetts writer. His story is told so elegantly that he makes masterful writing feel easy. One can only hope that he will write more books like this one. Encore!
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Format: Paperback
Though I don't particularly love the two professional reviews listed here, I like the phrase "omniscient rememberance" that's used in one of them. That's part of the beauty of this novel: in addition to finely-drawn characters and places, and a lovely cadence to the sentences on the page, the author beautifully presents both the text and the subtext of the story at once, so that you are caught up in the richness of the lives that are presented within.

I loved this book for its nostalgia, for its acute observances of the life around the main character, Anthony, for the questions it brought up around my own family, and for the skilled technique in the writing itself.

A wonderful, wonderful work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Place has always been important to me. A strong sense of place, especially of a place a I know is a gift that I appreciate from a writer and try to offer as an author.

I have never read a book that is as beautiful and as evocative of place as this.

I grew up in Revere, my Italian/Spanish family having branched out from the North End to a triple-decker on Campbell Avenue and then to a single family on Arlington Avenue. Roland Merullo captured, shared, and revived those days when my sprawling Mediterranean family packed together to share holidays and birthdays, graduations and wakes. The book brought me back to the before our family slipped apart, a victim of time, mortality, and geography. I felt as if I'd been given a gift.

What a wonderful book!
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Format: Hardcover
Maybe it is because I am from Revere, maybe it is because I am an Italian American, maybe it is because I am a sensitive woman, surely it is because Roland Merullo is an exceptional writer!
I felt like I was reading my history, and the history of my family as I was reading this story. The characters are all people I grew up with, the same insecurities, the same hopes and dreams, the same tragedies, and Mr. Merullo captured the heart and soul of life in a small town in America perfectly!
I absolutely love this story, these characters and I am so Proud that I am a Revere person.
I beg you to read this story and not laugh out loud and cry with your soul!
I don't know how to thank Mr. Merullo enough for his insight, his humor; his soul must know my soul and I am forever in his debt.
Enjoy,
Debbi :)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is, first of all, a terrific story, with beautifully and tenderly rendered characters, and a profound sense of place. Utterly devoid of cliche, it tells you the meaning of powerful family bonds and gives a rarely seen accurate snapshot of Italian-American culture. As a resident of Boston's North Shore - and an Italian-American - I connected to this book on many levels. I read it in two sittings - couldn't wait to see what happened next. You should read this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A well-written coming of age novel with well-drawn characters and a strong flavor of the Italian culture. Some meaningful passages as the main character Tonio overcomes some very difficult situations with the support of his extended family. Seemed to drag a bit in the middle, but that might be because I've read so many of ..these coming of age books. The Goldfinch about did me in, I'm afraid
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great story of overcoming grief at an early age, a loving yet complex extended family, and finding your way in a world outside your comfort zone. Merullo is a stunning writer. This was a top-all-time pick for our feisty book group, which rarely agrees on all points. Read this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book had good reviews and I bought it on a whim. I've never read Merullo's books before, but am now a fan. I didn't want this book to end. The characters came to life and I felt as though I'd known them for a long time.
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