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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.


If you purchase anything from this site from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations welcome also.

Related Reading:
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Confessions of Joan the Tall 

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9 Responses to “Never Hug a Nun ~Kevin Killeen”

  1. Patricia Says:

    Here is a link to a positive review of this book you might enjoy


  2. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    ” It is a cute story, if you like little boys peeing on everything.”

    I think I’m going to take a pass on this one :)

    Patricia Reply:

    I tried to be as kind as I could because I think the author put his heart into this story but I could not connect it to my heart or head. I rather felt a bit hopeless about the future. My favorite part of the book was the author’s acknowledgements at the end – it was funny and indicated to me that this author will accomplish some fine story telling in the future or maybe he already does on his radio show?

  3. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    Hmmm, let’s see. I have a dog that tends to pee on everything. That is less than amusing. Just got “Joan” this week! Think I’ll stick with that. I remember being called to school when my son was 6 – he and a few others were peeing on the walls of the bathroom at school. It wasn’t Catholic, haha! At least to my knowledge, he never did wall decorations again :)

    Patricia Reply:

    Yes I have one of those puppies too!

    I think this author will shine in the future – as I said in my reply to Laurie, the acknowledgements were the best part of the read for me.

    I do believe the othor reviewers are going to find more things that they like and especially if they were or are Catholic.

    There is hope for the author, I would read his next work, and his next as I believe there is potential there

  4. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    Darn, I’m sorry that this one didn’t work for you, but thanks for your honest review for the tour.

    Patricia Reply:

    Heather J,

    I think many, many people will like reading this book – I just can not laugh and make light of this kind of stuff any more.
    Patricia recently posted..Wild Heart Painting Workshop – Gifts of ChangeMy Profile

  5. Sara Says:

    It’s never easy to write a truthful review when its about a book you don’t like, but you did it. You stuck to your beliefs and said “I don’t like this book.” In addition, you offered a positive review. That’s what a good book reviewer should do.

    I doubt I would have read this book anyway. I’m not very fond of all things Catholic, but that’s just me.

    I’m pleased you were honest about how this book was for you.

    Patricia Reply:

    For several days I worried about this review, but now I have let it go. I was asked to review the book and I did that and put my best foot forward.

    I think as this writer matures we might see some good work ahead in the game – more Garrison Keillor for the Catholic worldview not the Lutherans! There was not the richness or depth of understanding that is apparent when the story can make you laugh and enjoy.
    Patricia recently posted..Wild Heart Painting Workshop – Gifts of ChangeMy Profile