Never Hug a Nun - Kevin Killeen
From first crushes and cafeteria lines, hidden forts and secret passwords, learning the Cub Scout oath and robbing the Ben Franklin, to hanging out on the train tracks, running from the police, enduring stuffy classrooms and, of course, dodging projectile vomit, Never Hug a Nun laces the reader into the Keds of young Patrick Cantwell—a boy who really wants to be good, but who, like his hero The Wolfman, always seems to fall short.
Set in Webster Groves in 1966, the story takes readers on a laughing, head-shaking, I-remember-doing-that-stuff ride through the rigors of practicing good penmanship, the rites of spring kickball, unsupervised summer days filled with Velvet Freeze daydreams of starting a band at least as good as The Beatles, and, finally, to those dying seconds when a boy reaches out bravely to hold the 220-volt live wire of a girl’s hand.
I have read a lot of books recently that are serious undertakings with lots of pages, but this is under 200 pages and was hilarious. Seriously- I haven't laughed this hard reading a book in awhile. I think the reason I loved this book so much is I remember the hijinks I participated in without my parent's knowing what was going on. Like that time my brother and I got our best friends and we had a crab apple fight in the park. But then Travis's apple hit Jessica REALLY hard and she had a bruise. Which turned out to be hilarious as adults because when I found out Jess had to have a heart transplant, I told Travis it was because of that apple and he fucked her up. I think he believed it for a second but then realized I was just being an asshole.
Or that time we stole all of the Sheet Rock out of the neighbor's house, busted it up, and discovered it's like chalk on the road. Travis and I decorated pretty much all of Balsam Avenue with it and then totally lied about it when our parents asked. But stupid criminals we were, we wrote our names all over the road. It's like leaving your ID at a crime scene. We spent an entire Saturday washing the road. As an adult I don't know how that other kids' parents didn't kill us now that I know how much Sheet Rock costs.
But that's why I loved this book. We all have hilarious childhood stories that are really some of the most formative experiences of our lives. Good or bad, we all have one story that will end with, ".. and I never did that again!". One of my favorite lines from the book was this one (this is after the jumped onto a train):
"The bridge and the fort and the golfers and the boredom of the hot summer day slipped away behind them as they rolled toward downtown Webster- afraid, excited, yelling SHIT to each other with lady cigar breath, holding in nervous pee, going places at seven miles an hour."
I don't know why I love that line so much but I totally get it. You know how as a kid you are such a bad ass in your own mind but as an adult you realize what an idiot you really were. But it didn't matter because it's what life was about back then. I also love that the book is set in the 60's and there are so many Catholic school references that you just really love Patrick. You know he wants to be a cool kid, fall in love with Ebby, and just not piss off a nun.
Oh I loved this book. I really needed something to remind me of the stupid things I did as a kid, the good times with my brother, and just not be so serious and stressed out before the holidays. Totally the perfect remedy. I seriously encourage you to read this book especially if you're older than me because I bet a lot of the social references will make more sense to you or you'll at least totally know what they are better than I. But even if you don't, don't let that deter you. You will really like this one.
So let's give one away! YAY! Open to US/Canada only.. sorry lambies from other places!
- Must be a follower through GFC.
- Leave a comment with your email address. I'm not psychic, peeps.
But in case you don't win because you probably won't, you can buy it HERE. You can read an excerpt of it HERE and then see what other tour stops are saying HERE.