Second Spring: A Love Story (O'Malley Family Series)

Second Spring: A Love Story (O'Malley Family Series)

by Andrew M. Greeley
     
 

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Father Andrew M. Greeley, one of America's best-loved and most widely read novelists, has delighted readers with his ongoing chronicles of the crazy O'Malleys, a rambunctious but resourceful Irish-American family caught up in the sweep of modern American history. The previous novels in the saga—A Midwinter's Tale, Younger than Springtime, A Christmas Wedding,<See more details below

Overview

Father Andrew M. Greeley, one of America's best-loved and most widely read novelists, has delighted readers with his ongoing chronicles of the crazy O'Malleys, a rambunctious but resourceful Irish-American family caught up in the sweep of modern American history. The previous novels in the saga—A Midwinter's Tale, Younger than Springtime, A Christmas Wedding, and September Song—have taken the O'Malleys of Chicago from the aftermath of World War II through the tumultuous upheavals of the sixties. Now, in Second Spring, Charles "Chucky" O'Malley and his growing clan face the promise and pitfalls of the late seventies.

It's 1978 and the whole country, exhausted from the twin traumas of Vietnam and Watergate, seems to be suffering from a massive hangover. Chucky O'Malley knows how the country feels; approaching fifty, he finds himself in the grip of a debilitating midlife crisis. Although he has much to be thankful for, including a loving wife and a thriving career as a professional photographer, he does not feel like a success. He hasn't lost his faith, exactly, but he does feel disillusioned and depressed. As he travels the world, from the Vatican, where a new pope is to be selected, to Jimmy Carter's White House, where an overwhelmed president struggles to find a cure for his nation's malaise, Chucky searches for a way to renew his weary spirit.

Fortunately, he doesn't have to face this challenge alone. With the loving support of his family, and especially his irrepressible and adoring wife, Rosemarie, he just might rediscover his lost hope and optimism in time for a Second Spring. . . .

Author Biography: Father Andrew M. Greeley, a Catholic priest and sociologist, is an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Ireland in Dublin. He divides his time between teaching at the University of Chicago and the University of Arizona at Tucson.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Greeley s irrepressible and fiercely liberal O Malley family carries on lustily in this sixth chronicle of their adventures. Charles (usually Chuck, often Chucky, and even Chucky Ducky, none of which names he objects to) is a former foreign ambassador under Jack Kennedy, a Ph.D. in economics and a world-famous photographer. Rosemarie, his wife, is a recovered alcoholic, now a successful New Yorker writer, but more important to her, a mom and grandma. Trading chapters, they describe their busy life in Rome in the late 1970s, where Chuck s role is to photograph the new pope. In 1978, there were three popes: Paul VI died; his successor, John Paul I, also expired, after only a brief period; and John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in centuries, was elected. Greeley s knowledge of the intrigues and suspense behind the elections produces a graphic firsthand account (he is the author of the nonfiction book The Making of the Popes 1978). After the election, Chuck s career as a photographer (he refers to himself modestly as a fast-talking punk from the West Side of Chicago who takes pictures ) comes to the fore, as the Art Institute gives him a major show. The show is a success (despite or because of the scandal caused by an innocently revealing photo of Rosemarie), but Chuck is assailed by self-doubt, then nearly dies of pneumonia. In a sentimental but poignant scene, a serene, perhaps heavenly lady visits Chuck and reassures him that he is a good man. This is more comfort food for Catholics, though newcomers to the series may be taken aback by Chuck and Rosemarie s mildly explicit lovemaking. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The Vatican must breathe a sincere sacred sigh when the often vexing priest Greeley tones down his screeds against church doctrine and continues his saga of Charles and Rosemarie O'Malley, the rich, loving couple who have made five previous appearances in the author's novels. To emphasize his own personal feelings about what role women should have in the church, Greeley gives both Charles and Rosemarie their own alternating chapters, each seeing the same events through slightly different eyes. This time, they are in Rome during one of the most turbulent times ever faced by the church: the contentious aftermath of Vatican II. The primary focus is 1978, when an unprecedented three Popes had to be selected during a time of great upheaval in the church. Greeley is well versed in Vatican politics; he uses the O'Malleys to take listeners behind the locked doors of the College of Cardinals, giving them an insider's look at how a Pope is selected. Reader Paul Michael is quite adept at keeping a large cast of characters distinct from one another, and his narration adds greatly to the overall enjoyment of this book. Every library has a legion of Greeley fans; they won't be disappointed by this latest work. Recommended for all public libraries.-Joseph L. Carlson, Allan Hancock Coll., Lompoc, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Greeley returns with The Sixth Chronicle of the O'Malley Family in the Twentieth Century, the first having been 1998's A Midwinter's Tale. In volume four, the Catholic O'Malleys of Chicago, Chucky and sexpot Rosemarie, began singing "September Song" in their early and middle 40s, though that late leaf-fall usually strikes in one's 50s or 60s. Or was it just blues for the Jack and Bobby Kennedy deaths? Now in their late 40s, the O'Malleys face Chucky's midlife identity crisis, volume five never having appeared at Kirkus. In any event, the plot appears to pick up where September Song (2001) left off-or else volume five made little difference. Now we find the O'Malleys in Rome, in 1978, and a new Pope being chosen (who will soon die and himself be replaced). First, there's Chucky describing for us his wife's postcoital body, which, for a fastidious man whom Jack Kennedy sent as our ambassador to Germany, seems boorish until Rosemarie, who takes up alternate chapters for the Crazy O'Malleys, reveals that "Our sex life wasn't always great, no one's is. But it was mostly good and often great, sometimes almost transcendent." Now Chucky's moping, sapped and disillusioned, a sad sack who's lost his rambunctiousness despite a once-great career as a decorated Korean vet, his spunk as a photographer of America's racial crisis in Little Rock, his ambassadorship, and later tiffs with LBJ about Vietnam. Though the O'Malleys were appointed by Paul VI to help revise birth-control teaching, their suggestions were ignored. They now fight a well-protected pedophile priest, then go up against Chicago's lying, corrupt, paranoid, fat, ugly, psychopathic Cardinal Archbishop Thomas John O'Neill, one of Greeley'sgrungiest creations, whose portrait Chucky shoots. Chucky collects a dossier on O'Neill to get Rome to dismiss him. The Pope sighs no. Now O'Neill shores up more power while Chucky's health wavers and evergreen family problems prick and writhe. Greeley, timeless as Rome, springs eternal.
From the Publisher
"A master storyteller." —Nelson DeMille

"A truly well-crafted read. The O’Malleys are a wonderful Irish family, full of good humor and love, against the backdrop of a very trying era in American history." —Romantic Times on September Song

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765342386
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
05/01/2004
Series:
Family Saga Series, #5
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chuck

1978

"You might," the naked woman said to me, "make model airplanes."

"Ah," I said, as I caressed her firm, sweaty belly, an essential of afterplay as I had learned long ago.

"You always wanted to make them when you were a kid."

The full moon illumined the dome of St. Peter's in the distance and bathed us in its glow, as though it were doing us a favor. Over there the cardinals were doubtless spending a restless night in the uncomfortable beds in their stuffy rooms. None of them had a bedmate like Rosemarie with whom to play, worse luck for them and for the Church.

"You said…Don't stop, Chucky Ducky, I like that…You said that you were too poor to buy the kits."

"I did not!" I insisted, as I kissed her tenderly.

"You did." She sighed. "You don't have to stop that either."

My lips roamed her flesh, not demanding now, but reassuring, praising, celebrating.

"I did not!"

There had been a time, long years ago, when I would have tried a second romp of lovemaking in a situation like the present one.

"Or you could take up collecting sports cards. You told all of us that you couldn't afford that either."

"I never said that!"

"You did too!" She giggled as I tickled her.

"I guess I'm in my midlife identity crisis," I admitted.

"You can't be, Chucky Ducky darling." She snuggled close to me. "You haven't got beyond your late adolescent identity crisis."

One of the valiant Rosemarie's favorite themes was that I was still a charming little boy, like the little redhead in the stories she wrote.

"Mind you," she whispered, "I like you as an adolescent boy."

"Oh?"

"Only an adolescent boy would be so nicely obsessed with every part of a woman's anatomy."

That would be a line in her next story. I wondered how the New Yorker would handle the spectacular lovemaking that preceded the line.

"A man could become impotent at the possibility that his bedtime amusements would become public knowledge."

"Ha!…I don't know about you, Chucky Ducky, but I'm going to sleep now."

She pillowed her head on my stomach.

"Chucky love," she sighed, now well across the border into the land of Nod, "you're wonderful. We really defied death this time, didn't we?"

That would be in the story too. I had become a character in a series of New Yorker stories—a little red-haired punk as an occasional satyr.

Rosemarie Helen Clancy O'Malley had found her midlife identity as a writer. Her poor husband had found his identity as a character in fiction. On that happy note I reprised in my imagination some of the more pleasurable moments of our romp and sank into peace and satisfied sleep.

Copyright © 2003 by Andrew M. Greeley Enterprises, Inc.

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