Of Flesh And Stoneby M. A. Petaccia
Of Flesh and Stone is a subtle woman's story told through the eyes of the male character, Donovan Scali, who is fated to die with his mother in childbirth. When his mother tries to push Donovan through her womb, the priest who is giving her the last rites, says, "You must stop this. Let it die in peace. The child will be with God," but the mother's strength and… See more details below
Of Flesh and Stone is a subtle woman's story told through the eyes of the male character, Donovan Scali, who is fated to die with his mother in childbirth. When his mother tries to push Donovan through her womb, the priest who is giving her the last rites, says, "You must stop this. Let it die in peace. The child will be with God," but the mother's strength and love pushes her baby through her womb and she dies at that exact moment. The newborn infant is later left to the nuns at St. Rita's Convent where he will spend the first five years of his life. Donovan spends his young years in orphanages and foster homes and he finds a way to live through these years because there simply was nothing else he could do. It is in the Devil's Pocket that Donovan begins to write his stories and poems. However, tragedy follows Donovan in his odyssey through life. His path leads to hell and back and to hell again. The only thing that keeps him alive is his gritty determination to survive and survive he does.
From the streets of South Philly to the Ivy league. From JFK's campaign to Berlin. From the jungles of Vietnam to the radical student protests at Florida State University. From Prison to academic life. From Tallahassee to the French Riviera. Of Flesh and Stone is a story of America with all its faults and triumphs.
- Aberdeen Bay
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- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.67(d)
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Wow! I haven't seen a book like this in years. An instant classic. This book will bring literary novels back in vogue.
There are no immortals in this book, no vampires or zombies from outer space, no large dinosaurs or talking lions. There is however, a story written in a prose style not seen in American novels for many years. At times Petaccia's prose is close to Dickens, but actually is more like Edwin O'Connor, (The Edge of Sadness, The Last Harrah). In short, Of Flesh and Stone is a book for serious readers. It begins in a dark bedroom in a side street in South Philadelphia. A woman is lying in great pain on her bed. "God in his power, has chosen to take Angelina to his glory and so too will he take her unborn child. Such is the way of the Lord." But Angelina will not let her child die and with all the strength she can muster, she pushes the baby through her womb and he lies between the legs of his dead mother without even a cry.. This begins the journey of Donovan Scali through convents, orphanages and foster homes, surviving simply because there was nothing else he could do. This story shows how our lives are determined by the small decisions we make and at times the most insignificant decision will change your life and everyone's life around you. Every woman should read this book so that they know what a woman's life was like before they had equal rights and to remember the women of that struggle. Of Flesh and Stone is a wonderful read, but do so carefully, because it will break your heart.
Book nook - Of Flesh and Stone by M.A. Petaccia, 4/5 stars Elizabeth Copps . Contributing Writer . March 5, 2009 Thursday, March 5 FSView From the day of his birth, protagonist Donovan Scali seems to have a permanent "kick me" sign on his back. The product of an affair, Donovan's mother dies giving birth to her son and her enraged husband commits suicide, forcing little Donovan into first an orphanage, in turn burned down by its residents, and then into one horrible foster care situation after another. Dealing consistently with death and destruction from his birth onward, Donovan attempts to commit suicide at only 12-years-old. However, time goes by, and Donovan's life begins to improve. Showing a wonderful adeptness for poetry, he is accepted on a scholarship to the prestigious University of Pennsylvania. With his "fierce desire to learn as much as he could about writing," he takes a job on the college newspaper, making himself a bit of a celebrity. He even shows some athletic prowess by securing a spot on the football team, and for the first time in his young, troubled life, he is happy. But, as Chapter 14 points out, all good things must come to an end. After the sudden death of his current foster mother, (a running theme in this novel), it is evident that luck is not on Donovan's side when it comes to keeping the women he loves in his life. As many young men do when heartbroken, lost or confused, Donovan joins the army during the early 1960s. He is stationed in Berlin, where, shocker, he loses yet another woman he loves. Donovan's awful luck is still running strong as he is then transferred to the volatile and war-ravaged Vietnam. Being a first-hand witness to the carnage and evils of humanity, Donovan eventually returns to the states, bringing an orphaned Vietnamese boy back home with him. "A revolution is coming," in the final part of this novel, and for all of you Florida State University students, it is easy to relate to the setting, as it takes place at our very own school circa 1968. Donovan fits in well in Tallahasse and participates in protests against the ongoing war. However, in Chapter 22, he is arrested for violent activity at Florida State University and goes to prison for an extended period of time, leaving yet another woman he loves behind. Upon his release, he comes back to FSU, a hero and eventually obtains a job teaching English. Finally, his life starts to circle around to a happy state, which is more than deserved for this character who has been literally and figuratively dragged through the mud. He writes a poem, "Walking on Water," which not only is significant of his middle name (Jesus) but also of the fresh, new chapter he is starting in his life. Without giving away too much else and ruining the finish, the ending seems a just one for the tormented Donovan. It is evident that Petaccia meant what he said in his novel's description when he described it as "a subtle woman's tale told through the eyes of the male character." Donovan Scali speaks for his mother and all of the other women lost throughout the novel through his poetry and life. A gripping and heartwrenching story.