STILL CATHOLIC: After All These Fears by Ed Stivender

STILL CATHOLIC: After All These Fears

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Storyteller and entertainer Stivender offers more affectionate glimpses of his Irish-Catholic upbringing in Philadelphia in the late 1950s and early '60s. The 12 chapters of this sequel to Raised Catholic (Can You Tell?) (1993) make up a series of vignettes, often hilarious, in which the author brings the world of his boyhood to life. Stivender takes us from his confirmation at age eight into his high school years and ends with his preparations for college. His escapades, parents, friends, priests, nuns, and school form a kaleidoscope of images that powerfully evoke an age when the Mass was in Latin and schools confiscated water pistols. Stivender has a gift for describing objects and incidents from a boy's perspective, whether it be the day his father brings home their first hi-fi and LPs, or when he writes to Charles Atlas for tips on how to take out the class bully. He also makes us reexperience the virtual reality of play, for example, when we read how he and his friends were making scooters from roller skates and orange crates and how, racing downhill, his model came apart, leaving him to face traffic on an early form of skateboard. Religion runs through all these pages, mostly in the background, but occasionally the details of Catholic practice appear as objects of wonder that are also taken for granted, as when he describes serving morning Mass inside the local convent. Stivender portrays his priests at school as men of faith who, in different ways, taught their charge to think clearly, even when he was punished for his contrariness by being made to argue for the nonexistence of God in a public debate. Thoughtful as well as nostalgic, Stivender will make readers glad he is still Catholic.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1995
ISBN: 087483483X
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: August House