Saturday, December 31, 2011

Waiting For Pops - John Riffice

Looking for a biographical novel to read over the New Year Break ?
Waiting for Pops
Synopsis: Waiting For Pops - John Philip Riffice -2010
This is a biographical novel that moves between Johnny's youth and more recent times. It is a painful recollection of a childhood blighted by his parent's relationship problems, loss and addiction. Viewed from the eyes of a child it is clearer to the reader what is really going on than to Johnny himself, and having a young narrator probably makes the story more painful and poignant. Before his father dies and his sister is diagnosed their life seems happy and loving, despite the long hours and little money. This makes the contrast with what happens later even more stark. Johnny is brought up in a neighbourhood where gossip is rife and he is desperate to keep his mum's secret, so is left to deal with the results of her drinking alone.
It covers what Johnny's teenage years were like growing up in 1950s Chicago which involve dealing with many of the rites of passage familiar to all boys, like first dates and kisses. His story though is also one of a boy growing into a man having to deal with his father's death, his mother's alcholism and his sister's admission to a sanatorium as they struggle to cope with her autism. He grows up with memories of wonderful times with his father while being angry with his mother, believing she is the root of all their problems. As a grown man he comes to realise things weren't what they appeared and has to reappraise his view of his parents.

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