Bless Me, Father

Overview

Bless Me, Father is the story of Frank Battaglia and his youngest boy, Nicky. He is sixteen years old and entirely unlike his old man. Nicky Battaglia is grieving over the death of his brother. He is not a tough guy; Nicky wants to play basketball, lose his virginity, and listen to his brother's collection of sweet soul music. The problem is, Frank wants Nicky to make amends for his own failures. Frank wants the kid to be a fighter. Nicky never becomes much of a fighter. Instead, he is cut loose from everything ...
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Overview

Bless Me, Father is the story of Frank Battaglia and his youngest boy, Nicky. He is sixteen years old and entirely unlike his old man. Nicky Battaglia is grieving over the death of his brother. He is not a tough guy; Nicky wants to play basketball, lose his virginity, and listen to his brother's collection of sweet soul music. The problem is, Frank wants Nicky to make amends for his own failures. Frank wants the kid to be a fighter. Nicky never becomes much of a fighter. Instead, he is cut loose from everything that he knows: his father, his family, his neighborhood, even his confessor, the local priest. Alone, Nicky struggles to come of age. He discovers sex. He discovers the terrible truth of his father and his brother. Nicky Battaglia discovers his own courage and cowardice, until there is enough of his character to defeat the past.

In a gritty, chilling portrait of what life is really like in New York's Mafia, Kriegel tells of an existence where men are sacrificed, destroyed and, sometimes, made whole in the name of honor.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New York Daily News columnist Kriegel makes a tightly written, fast-paced fiction debut with this novel about a mob lieutenant who witnesses the effects of betrayal and retribution on himself and his sons. Frank Battaglia is a brutal wiseguy, a throwback who laments the passing of the days when lower Manhattan was a mob stronghold. His problems start when he murders his boss in order to move up in the ranks but leaves alive a witness whom the tabloids dub the ``mystery blonde.'' When a clever detective picks up the case and begins leaking details to an aging columnist seeking to relive his glory days, the noose slowly tightens around Frank's neck. Meanwhile, in a convergent subplot, Frank's adolescent son, Nicky, seeks to break free from his father's world after his rebellious brother ends his conflict with their stubborn, willful parent by committing suicide. Using Frank's attempts to teach Nicky to box as a vehicle to explore family conflicts, Kriegel weaves a tangled web of drama and intrigue, complete with a surprise ending that packs a nice punch. The author also scores heavily with the gritty authenticity of his Manhattan and New Jersey settings and his well-drawn cast. Mob novels may be a dime a dozen, but this one, heralding the arrival of an unusually talented author, is well worth its full cover price. (Mar.)
Library Journal
This first novel is not your average, violence-ridden Mafia story but something far more subtle. Kriegel's viable, fleshed-out characters live in the world of the New York City Mafiosi, but it is a changing world where crack dealers are crowding out the dons in the newspaper columns. Nicky Battaglia, the son of mob enforcer Frank Battaglia, is forced by his father to learn to box because, in Frank's words, "boxing builds character." Nicky would rather play basketball, and his tutelage as a boxer is seemingly fruitless, as the father seeks to redeem himself-a failure in his own boxing career-through the son. Yet Frank misses in his mob career as well, for he is arrested for murdering his own boss. A host of minor characters, none superfluous, help make this novel stand out. Recommended for most popular collections.-David Dodd, Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425155745
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/1/1996
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.95 (d)

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