Never Hug a Nun ~Kevin Killeen
Never Hug A Nun is a fictional memoir about the middle 1960’s, attending Catholic elementary school, living in Webster Grove, Missouri, being part of a good Catholic family and all that entailed. It is written by a radio reporter, who was encouraged to tell this story by a number of people who thought it was valuable and good – it was a good expression of the author’s comic word play and talents. I think thousands of people will enjoy reading this book, will find the chuckle and even laugh out loud remembering their experiences. I have now read several writers who suggest that the novel has a Mark Twain quality in its expression.
I early on in my blogging career decided I would not write about books that I did not like and have only written about one in a paragraph over the years. And yet, I find myself sorting and probing this work to find something positive to say and encourage others to purchase and explore this fiction. I guess if folks like stories about little boys peeing on everything and marking their territory, one would find this to your liking. I think folks who went to Catholic school might like this book. I do think 6 and 7 year old boys do these things, and especially with an 11 year old ringleader, but I do not think in 1966 they would have been this blatant. The characters seem too young. I have known children who do steal for a “good” cause at this age, but not running in front of freight trains, damaging freight and riding boxcars is a bit ambitious for even Catholic children in first and second grades. I could be wrong. The arrhythmic style of the words took a long time to ease on down the tracks to gain flow.
Just like in NEVER HUG A NUN, the Catholic School children I encountered in my youth thought they were superior to everyone else they knew or encountered. They always seemed to travel in gangs no matter the age and this gave them an aggressive edge, often not noticed by their parents. The parents came off as ninnies and breeders in this story with a “boys will be boys” attitude. There was always the dare devil girl, though Ebby liked to dance.
If we encounter a hyperactive child now, we are want to say, “Here is the next entrepreneur!” and attempt to channel all that energy into sports or work efforts. Patrick the main feature in this story was sorting out life, playing off of being the good Catholic, the always in trouble guy with good motives, and the adapter. His two favorite people were his father and his Aunt Jenny who were both about love and caring and maybe not following the rules so much. I would say he had the possibility of being a thinker and a leader. But his world was demanding him to be controlled and fit into the system, I do not think he would amount to much of anything. The father in the story had several fine moments to share and his actions made the reading of the 182 pages worthwhile. But then again, the reader is reminded he was a Catholic that went to PUBLIC school so was still outside the gang and not a true believer.
If Mark Twain had written this story, it would have been fine muckraking about the imperialism of the gangs of the Catholic Church, including the voracity of the radical older nuns to break up ancient warrior/gang thinking, challenging the breeding habits of the conservatives, and using his wit to promote global and creative thinking. The nuns are acting out now; they were geared up for Vietnam too. Never Hug A Nun seemed oblivious to all of these ideas. It is a cute story, if you like little boys peeing on everything.
I am going to include the whole book review tour for this book, because I am sure many, many of the reviewers just thought this was a terrific, fun read.
I received a preview copy of the story from Blank Slate Books, an independent publisher and TLC book tours. I am certain that there will be a book giveaway by the publisher for the best comment and one can read the promo for the book too.