The Last Catholic In America by John R. Powers
Published: June 1993
I came upon this book very randomly really. I was at my favorite local book store just skimming the isles over & over again, hoping something would catch my eye. All of a sudden bright and screaming I saw the word “Catholic” and picked it up.
It’s not to often you find a humorous book about growing up Catholic, like this little gem. I knew right away I was going to like this book. I will say that if you take offence to anything making fun of anything religious, Catholic or not, do not read this book. I was even put off a few times.
This is the first book I have read by this author and in this story he takes us back to Chicago in the 1950’s, as a young Catholic boy and his first 8 years in his church’s Catholic school. It reads very smoothly and you feel like you are reading the true story of a boy stuck between wanting to do right by the church and just wanting to be a boy.
Eddie tends to keep himself busy by getting in trouble with his parents, friends, the nuns at school and a few times with the priest. I felt myself laughing as I remembered my young childhood, growing up Catholic as well as attending Catholic school.
I was put off by some situations in the book but only because I was taking it personally really, as I am Catholic. Aside from some crude humor it really is a wonderful story, a coming of age tale, a boy trying to find his way and read between the lines, wanting to know if what the church was teaching him was the truth or a way to scare him into behaving as the adults wanted.
I felt like the end of the book did not fit with the rest of the story but also left me wanting to read more about this boy’s life. I highly recommend this book.