PAGAN BABIES AND OTHER CATHOLIC MEMORIES by Gina Cascone

PAGAN BABIES AND OTHER CATHOLIC MEMORIES

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Smart-alecky, blandly amusing hits of parochial-school reminiscence--without the textured nostalgia or the mild raunchiness of John R. Powers' similar Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? Cascone recalls the cafeteria food: ""I'll tell you, for someone who could change water into wine and five loaves . . . the results we got were somewhat disappointing. The pork roll stayed green. . . ."" She remembers the strictures on skirt length: ""Now I knew I was cute, but I was really impressed that the nuns were worried about me being a siren at six."" She has comments on the boredom of Mass, the dubious Bible stories (""That apple story is terrible PR for God. It makes Him look really petty""), the irrational theology, Christmas pageants, relic-kissing, Lent, confession, martyrdom propaganda, the prayers of the rosary: ""One of my favorite requests was, 'Dear Lord, please make Sister disappear.' I used to goad Him: 'Come on you can do it, a guy who parted the Red Sea.'"" And the better moments here involve the competition for donating money to baptize ""pagan babies"" overseas; ""how to get holy communion off the roof of your mouth""; and best friend Roseanne--who lived at the convent with the nuns. (""The way that nun brushed Roseanne's hair, the poor kid was scared to death that she was going to end up looking like Ben Franklin."") Unlike Powers, Cascone doesn't remain basically reverent: the epilogue features features her decision to not baptize her own child (""She was better off being a pagan baby than buying them . . .""). On the other hand, the anti Catholic comedy doesn't even hint at the depth or vigor of Christopher Durang's play Sister Ignatius Explains It All For You. So, mostly for mildly bitter, non-believing Catholics who, like Cascone, had to go to parochial school anyway: a few chuckles and snickers.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1982
ISBN: 0743453271
Publisher: St. Martin's