"My entry into concentrated Catholicism, a forced alteration in my DNA, was to take place today." So begins John's parochial education in this enchanting, semi-autobiographical tale of a young boy ready to learn the mysteries of the Universe.
First-grader John has an interesting perspective on life, much to the dismay of the nuns at the Catholic school he attends. To them, boys who ask too many questions are dangerous and poised to enter the ultimate fiery pit. As he struggles to figure out the lessons the nuns are trying to teach him, John does his best to puzzle out the religious teachings and how they apply to his place is in this world.
This tale focuses on John and the complexities of his family, who do what they need to do in order to scrape by in a blue-collar town. Dominating the landscape of his life is his Irish culture, which informs every part of what he knows about family and the world around him.
At times touching and often very funny, readers will identify with a young boy's confusion over the contradiction between what he is told is right and what his heart tells him is right.