Dodging Satan (Paperback)
My Irish/Italian Sometimes Awesome, But Mostly Creepy, Childhood
Sand Hill Review Press, 9781937818326, 190pp.
Publication Date: November 15, 2015
Foreword Reviews Gold Medal in Humor & Finalist in Religious Books. EVVY Gold in Humor & Silver in Religion and Spirituality. Bronze winner of an Illumination Award in Catholic books (Pope Francis won the Gold ). ELit Bronze in Humor. What a combination
Dodging Satan is a humorous coming-of-age story. Bridget Flagherty, a student at St. Michael's Catholic school outside Boston in the 60s-70s, takes refuge in wacky misunderstandings of Bible Stories and Catholic beliefs to avoid problems in her Irish/Italian family life. Her musings on sadistic nuns, domestic violence, emerging sexuality, and God the Father's romantic life will delight readers.
Bridget creates glorious supernatural worlds--with exorcisms, bird relics, Virgin Martyrs, time travel, Biblical plagues, even the 'holy' in holy water--to cope with a family where leather handbags and even garlic can cause explosions.
An avid Bible reader who innocently believes everything the nuns tell her, Bridget's saints, martyrs, and bony Christs become alive and audible within her. While the nuns chide her sinful 'mathematical pride' and slow eating habits, God answers her prayers instantly by day, but the devil visits nightly in the dark. Scenes run the gamut from laugh-out-loud Catholic brainwashing of children, to heart-wrenching abuse, to riveting teenage excursions toward sex.
Young Bridget tries to make sense of a world of raging men and domestically subjugated women and carve a future for herself, wrestling with how God and men treat women. Her Italian female relatives--glamorous Santa Anna, black-and-blue Aunt Maria, sophisticated Eleanor with a New York 'Fellini pageboy'--offer sensual alternatives to the repression of her immediate family. She prays fervently that "despite God's bizarre treatment of married women... some girls] might still discover ways to have a great time without being a nun."
Dodging Satan is the flip-side of l'Histoire d'une Ame by Saint ThErEse of Lisieux authored by a twentieth century American girl chomping on a blue-gum cigar while she talks to a confidant about God and sex.