East Liberty

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Banks Channel Books, 2001 - Comics & Graphic Novels - 207 pages
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In the late '50s and early '60s, in a rough, Italian-American neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Bobby Renzo is growing up fatherless in the care of his beautiful and mysterious mother, Francene. At school the nuns worry about his single-parent home, but Bobby and Francene are happy. Occasionally she brings a man to her bedroom, and Bobby is shut out, but that doesn't happen often. Most evenings mother and son watch movies or wrestling on TV while nibbling treats brought from Francene's job at the candy counter at Sears. Bobby likes school, too, intrigued with the possibility of becoming a priest -- but also driven to commit small crimes with his tough friends. And oh -- to become an important Big League baseball player. And to daydream about the father he has never known, who Francene won't discuss.Over time, Bobby is forced to confront the realities of his situation. His mother is on the outs with her Italian-born parents, and this has something to do with his father. His calling to the priesthood is challenged by his reaction to a classmate's pictures of nude women. His world view, shaped equally by old movies and baseball and the teachings of the Church, is probably not normal at all. Or is it? In this lively, literary coming-of-age novel, Bobby begins to come to terms with the contradictions that rule his life.

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