A MAN IN THE MAKING: Grandfathers, Fathers, and Sons by

A MAN IN THE MAKING: Grandfathers, Fathers, and Sons

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This self-psychoanalyzing wrap-up from a midlife New York psychiatrist is the sort of outpouring that should have remained in the family. The intent is to do for men what Nancy Friday did for women, but Robertiello is too preoccupied with the idiosyncrasies of his own psyche to sketch the repetition of ""life patterns"" from generation to generation in anything but the broadest strokes. And idiosyncratic his psyche is: product of a multi-suicide overachieving Italian immigrant family where Oedipus complexes reigned supreme. He was reared primarily not by the tight-lipped, shadowy females in the family, but by a paternal grandfather who saw Robertiello as an extension of himself and beat academic perfection into him. As fast as grandfather Michelangelo fostered achievement, papa Attilio denied the slightest approval for it: a successful and prominent doctor himself, he saw his son as competition and would have none of it. He even went so far as to test an experimental drug on five-year-old Richard--a thinly disguised murder attempt, the author feels. Robertiello's on-again, off-again relationship with son Bobby is described in such general terms that its dynamics are virtually indecipherable; refreshingly, it seems only mildly neurotic after the generations that preceded it. Robertiello identified more with his maternal relatives--sensual, earthy, expressive--and regrets being trained by the paternal side to science, logic, rigor. This book is an untempered expression of that analytical side: self-exploring excess.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1979
Publisher: Marek--dist. by Putnam