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In Revere, In Those Days

(Revere Beach Trilogy #3)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  504 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In this richly evocative novel--the moving story of one boy's coming of age--acclaimed author Roland Merullo will make you nostalgic for a small Massachusetts city called Revere even if you've never been there. Providing a window into an unspoiled America of forty years ago, In Revere welcomes you to the fiercely loyal and devoted Italian-American family of the Benedettos. ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 14th 2003 by Vintage (first published 2002)
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Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-england
Revere is a seashore town in Massachusetts, and the narrator of this story, Anthony Benedetto, tells the story of his life. Anthony’s family is a close-knit one. He and his parents share a two-family house with his grandparents, and when his parents are killed in a plane crash, Anthony simply moves downstairs and is raised by his grandparents. He is especially close to his Uncle Peter, and Peter’s daughter Rosalie is Anthony’s best friend, although they part ways as Rosalie runs with a bad crowd ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this close on the heels of All Souls, a memoir about South Boston -- so closely in fact, that I was several chapters in before I remembered that this was a novel, and not a memoir. Then, oddly, I found I liked it a lot less. It's said that one can be more truthful in a novel than in a memoir, and I believe there is truth in every word of this story. It took a long time for me to finish it; I kept leaving it about the house. In the end, I guess I liked it more than I didn't, but it seemed ...more
Lynn Schuster
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this tender novel about growing up in a family of strong ethnic traditions and respecting those while wanting something more. While this family was of Italian American ancestry I see so many parallels to my German first generation German and Slovak paternal and maternal grandparents. They had so much love would do anything to support the grandchildren , made mistakes and blamed themselves , sadly self critical and humble.
Jun 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
This was good; I read it one summah when we was down the cape for v'cation. I had a hahd time not saying 'Raveah' every time I read the title!! :) he he
Cheryl Crotty
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a great coming of age book. First of all I should disclose that I grew up in Salem, Mass which I’d about 20 minutes from Revere. When we were teenagers and young adults we spent a fair amount of time at Revere beach and the boulevard. Three cities, Salem, Revere and Lynn (the city of sin) shared boundaries and for the most part the same economic stays. Poor hardworking families. Having said that, this book grabbed my heart and took me back to a time in my life that although we struggled we ...more
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Italian family?
North Shore Massachusetts?
1960s and 1970s?
Yup, I’m in.
If done well (which this was), I absolutely love this stuff.

I’m unsure what made this a novel instead of a memoir – it felt way too personal and real to be anything but autobiographical. Could have been a ‘A Million Little Pieces’ kind of thing. Regardless, I dug it.
Payton Palmer
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty good some parts weren't necessary in my opinion. However the book really captures the esence of family.
Amy Galaviz
Jan 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
This book is a coming-of-age story centered on Tonio, a young man growing up among an Italian-immigrant family in Revere in the 1960s. Revere is only a few towns away from me, so I read this book hoping to gain a historical perspective of the area, and how people from there came to become the way they are. However, this book turned out to be more of a memoir of Tonio's fictional life, with his feelings about himself, his family, and his life examined and discussed at length, and not so much of a ...more
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Solid 3 stars for this one. A nice, coming of age story that is beautifully written, which takes place North of Boston near where I lived for quite some time, this is the fictionalized story of a boy named Anthony who - grows up. Anthony loses his parents tragically and is raised by his grandparents, who are sweet old Italians. He adores his Uncle who seems like a shady character though his whereabouts are never quite confirmed. He goes to school. He makes friends. He is completely boring. Those ...more
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I mostly loved this book, the characters, the dialogue, the insights and descriptions. I give it 3 1/2 stars though because it left me unsettled. More than nostalgia, there was a melancholy, a dense fog, over the book that never seemed to go away even when Tony came of age, even when he came to some understanding. He told us, in the end that he was happy, I'm not convinced he could be. Did he really find a way to bridge his two worlds and find peace? The writer see Tony could see the essence in ...more
Catherine Marenghi
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
In Revere, In Those Days This lovely novel made me think I was reading a memoir -- it was so vivid and true to a time and place. Refreshingly, this story of an Italian-American family is NOT about the Mafia, but the kind of Italian-American family that will be immediately recognizable to all like me who were raised in one -- people deeply connected to each other and to their cultural roots.

As an extra treat, I live on the North Shore of Massachusetts, and the author's references to the local re
Dec 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book--the feel of Revere in the 60s and the contrast to Philips Exeter. The descriptions of his family members, particularly the uncle, are great. I just didn't think this hung together very well as a novel. The ending sort of fell off. At times the narrator refers to his current adult life as an artist, but we don't ever hear how this came to happen. He suffers the loss of many family members, especially his cousin who he feels very close to, but I don't really understand how he o ...more
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. This is my second book written by Merullo--a local author. My first encounter with his writing was through Breakfast with Buddha, a book I highly recommend. I connected with the narrator in this book, a young Italian American boy living in Revere. While I am neither a boy nor a resident of Revere, I was able to re-experience the richness of growing up Immersed in Italian culture. More than that, I really connected to the decisions the narrator wrestled with in making decisio ...more
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The descriptions of Italian-American family life resonated so strongly with me that at times I forgot that this book a) isn't intended to be an autobiography, and b) isn't *my* autobiography! (ignoring the differences in location, decade, and gender of course...)

I became absolutely swept up in the richness and familiarity of the characters and the exploration of why they were the way they were (this is a level of detail that can drag in a book that isn't as well-written as this one). This book
Ray Daniel
Place has always been important to me. A strong sense of place, especially of a place a I know is a gift that I appreciate from a writer and try to offer as an author.

I have never read a book that is as beautiful and as evocative of place as this.

I grew up in Revere, my Italian/Spanish family having branched out from the North End to a triple-decker on Campbell Avenue and then to a single family on Arlington Avenue. Roland Merullo captured, shared, and revived those days when my sprawling Medite
Eva Nickelson
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book about the Italian-American immigrant experience. The protagonist is Anthony Benedetto, and the book follows him through middle school and high school. He loses his parents near the beginning of the story, and from then on, his grandparents and his godfather, Uncle Peter, take over, trying to give him something close to what his parents wanted for him. This leads to hockey and Exeter, and away from the closeness of his large Italian family.

The prose in the book is amazing
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-2010
My feelings for this book can be summed up in a single, eloquent statement: meh. I didn't love the book, nor did I hate it. There were things that I did enjoy--the characters were well-developed and there were several scenes that were touching and/or funny and/or profound. Overall, however, the tone struck me as self-indulgent, not only in the way that most memoirs (though this was a fictionalized memoir) tend to be, but also in the excessive flowery language and severe overuse of metaphors. I d ...more
Bob Olson
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I grew up in Revere, on a side street off of Park Avenue much like "Jupiter Street", the home base of this captivating novel. My adolescence was probably 15 years earlier than the action of this story, but it still rings true to me. Merullo captures the Revere I knew as well as the Italian families I grew up beside. But you don't have to have grown up to appreciate this novel. The struggles of adolescence and "fitting in" at school could well have been your as well. A very atmospheric and enthra ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have spent most of my life wishing I had been born into an Italian family. One of my dearest friends in childhood (in the 60's) was Italian, and I remember hoping everyday that she would invite me to her house... to eat, to play, to feel the energy, to stay! This story, by Roland Merullo, takes you back to the late 60's, when the author is "coming of age". Maybe it was this author's style of writing, written with the main character as its narrator, or possibly it was the time-period piece, or ...more
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best stories I have ever had the pleasure to read. Roland Merullo has a beautiful gift for writing. You can "feel" everything he describes in this wonderful story. I took my time reading as I didn't want to miss anything...I didn't want the story to end. Had a few good cries during reading...any author who can do that is tops in my book. This is a must have for my library and I can't wait to read more of his work.
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alison Kenney
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this because of Marielle's review! What I liked best was the author's revelations or insights into different characters, especially his understanding about what was driving his cousin Rosalie. I also loved the relationship between his grandfather and his friend Vito and the way the main character watched and studied everyone, like his grandmother, so closely in order to understand them and learn about himself.
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Read this in one day. Having grown up in Revere, I could walk the streets with the protagonist and was so familiar with every place and thing he described: from the cookies at Russo's Bakery, to the altar at St. Anthony's Church... One of my favorite scenes is about encountering the young arsonist who torched the former incarnation of my elementary and junior high school.
Karen Jett
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very good coming of age story about a young Italian boy in Revere, MA. It encompasses the angst, fears, and conflicting desires of any young person.

Unfortunately, I picked this up thinking it was going to be a lighter subject matter than it was. Had I been in the mood for an in-depth look at realistic characters I may have rated it even higher.
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Maybe even a 4.5 star. This was one of those books that I could have just kept reading and reading. I would have happily followed the main character through the entirety of his life just to keep on reading, and to find out what happened with his life and those of his friends and family. Beautifully written.
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading this about two minutes ago. I honestly couldn't wait to post (the tears on my cheeks haven't even dried yet!). I loved this book. A beautiful story of an Italian boy growing up in Revere, Massachusetts. With relatives in nearby Everett, and an Italian grandmother myself, I could relate to the family gatherings, the food, even the accents!
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Just like his Talk Funny girl...I liked this book way more than I ever expected to. I guess my expectations were low since I thought Breakfast with Buddha was silly.
On the other hand, the book is deadly serious. All about loss and death and how you learn things in life, a little at a time. An amazing book.
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was grewing up just over the harbour at that time.... I remember the plane crash that the fictional parents were said to have died in... I liked this book largely for the boy coming of age as I was....
Apr 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. It brings you to my childhood era and the local flavor is powerful. It's a coming of age story about a young boy whose parents die,therefore he is raised by his extended Italian family. Fabulous
Sep 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Adult fiction. Anthony Benedetto, a young boy in a large extended Italian-American family, descibes growing up in the working-class community of Revere, Massachusetts, but his youth is changed forever by the tragic deaths of his parents.
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ROLAND MERULLO is an awarding-winning author of 24 books including 17 works of fiction: Breakfast with Buddha, a nominee for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, now in its 20th printing; The Talk-Funny Girl, a 2012 ALEX Award Winner and named a "Must Read" by the Massachusetts Library Association and the Massachusetts Center for the Book; Vatican Waltz named one of the Best Books of 201 ...more

Other books in the series

Revere Beach Trilogy (3 books)
  • Revere Beach Boulevard
  • Revere Beach Elegy: A Memoir of Home and Beyond

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