Did someone really set a pornographic stained-glass panel in a window of a Philadelphia Italian Catholic church? Or did a preadolescent surge of hormones merely make it seem so? Can you really get syphilis off a toilet seat? How can a really good Catholic boy be thinking of sex all the time, yet have as his personal hero that zany third member of the Trinity – the Holy Ghost? Can a child who is both brilliant and artistically gifted grow up Catholic – and stay Catholic all the way?
Tony Pasquarello has written an affectionate and often hilarious memoir on what it was like to grow up in a Catholic Little Italy during World War II. The head-on collision of inscrutable dogmas with a mind that is reflexively logical is an immensely amusing spectacle. Add to this the bewildering perplexity of pubertal transformation going on in the midst of the most sexually repressed culture since Victoria’s England – and you have a book neither Catholic nor non-Catholic readers will be able to put down before reading the last word.
TONY PASQUARELLO is an emeritus philosophy professor (The Ohio State University) who has successfully pursued a second career as a pop-jazz-classical musician and popular performer. A Philadelphian, he studied piano and theory at the Settlement School, the Philadelphia Conservatory, and the University of Pennsylvania. With over five thousand works in his repertoire, he has concertized throughout the United States, Europe, and Central America. The author of numerous technical articles on philosophy and the teaching of philosophy, he also has written popular pieces such as “Proving Negatives and the Paranormal,” which appeared as a featured article in the journal Skeptical Inquirer. Once an altar boy and possible candidate for the priesthood, he evolved into a skeptical philosopher whose delightful-but-trenchant writings are eagerly sought after by a variety of free-thought publications.