MY NEW FOUND LAND by Dean Brelis


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Dean Brelis' third novel is about the coming of age of Demo, a Greek boy, and Democracy (in the election of FDR) in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1932. It is simply and rather obviously written. Demo (Dimitri) is part of a Greek community. His father is a shoemaker, church super, and the community drunk. After his father is jailed for fighting a man who called him ""spic"", Demo befriends the Negro who defended him. He also learns more about Democracy by becoming involved in a rich woman's Pageant of American Children, which ends in her spoiled son's death through caged bear; by being mocked and beaten up by local boys; by running his father's store with the Negro for a day, only to have his father sell out to a wealthier Greek; and by his friendship with the Greek priest, who ultimately leaves for a poorer Greek community in Georgia, taking the Negro with him. Many of these moral tables are fairly pat and sentimental, but the telling, nevertheless, is warm, real, and pleasantly full of the color, personalities, and problems of an exotic and proud foreign community. An earnest, somewhat contrived, but generally appealing book.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin