IN REVERE, IN THOSE DAYS
Shaye Areheart Books, October 2003
Born in Revere, Massachusetts in the 1950s, Tonio is a member of one of the many tightly-knit Italian-American immigrant families on the block struggling to get by. His father works in a factory making airplane parts and his mother is a former nurse who wants Tonio to have a better life than Revere can provide. At age eleven, it seems as though Tonio, a good student and a good Catholic boy, may be able to realize his parents’ hopes for him. But Tonio’s life takes an abrupt turn when his parents are tragically killed in an airplane crash. Sustained and borne up by the unwavering love and devotion of his paternal grandparents, his Uncle Peter, and the rest of his large family, Tonio slowly but surely discovers a way out of sorrow and, ultimately, a way out of Revere.
In Revere, In Those Days is a heartfelt story of deep and abiding family love, of personal loss, and of individual redemption. Tonio’s distance from Revere lends an objectivity to his narrative, but his love for his family and his unapologetic pride in their traditional first-generation Italian-American values shines through each word. And yet, it is this very way of life that Tonio must leave behind in order to find happiness. Tonio’s life will be forever changed by the early loss of his parents, but his story is tinged with an even greater sense of a lost way of life: the sacrifice Americans make to achieve the American dream.
"A poignant look at a life with roots... Merullo has created characters that seem almost too real to be imagined... The telling of their stories is as fresh and real as people from your own childhood."
– The Philadelphia Inquirer
"What makes In Revere, In Those Days stand out from most other contemporary novels is its graceful prose, its deep and decent characters, and its quiet insistence upon the fundamental dignity of humanity."
– Seattle Times
"Emotionally complex, politically intelligent, beautifully written: Among the best from a novelist in the classic American tradition."
– Kirkus Starred Review
"[This] novel is so true that it has the authenticity of a memoir. It will, I think, be compared—and favorably—to A Separate Peace... I can't remember the last time I was moved to tears by a novel in the way that I was, at several junctures, with In Revere, In Those Days. It is an extraordinary achievement."
– Anita Shreve
"Beautiful and shapely... The sacrament of Italian American family lives in the heart of the words, displayed with perfect clarity and utter humanity... A pleasure to read, and to read again."
– Booklist Starred Review