Karen's Reviews > Chewing Gum in Holy Water: A Childhood in the Heart of Italy

Chewing Gum in Holy Water by Mario Valentini
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's review
Nov 19, 07

bookshelves: autobiography-biography-memoir, young_adult
Read in November, 2007

Chewing Gum in Holy water is a fascinating coming-of-age story that is laced with humorous, heart-warming life lessons of an adventurous boy growing up Catholic in post WWII Italy. His struggling mother sends four year old Mario to live with his uncle, a traveling priest, and his spinster aunt. The book covers Mario's life from 4 years old until his teen years. Each chapter is a scene from his life; the tales center around Mario's experiences with religion and his wild times with friends. From switching toys during Epiphany to hiding cigarettes and gum behind church statues and touching a bull for love; Mario's childhood was certainly unique. Every few years he moved to a new village and had to make new friends. Along the way his life was shaped by an elderly painter, the bickering Friar and Jesuit, the priest-eating Communist, two very different girls, equally adventurous friends and his beloved uncle. I would love it if a movie was made based on this book, it's a really sweet story.
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