The Boys From Eighth and Carpenter

The Boys From Eighth and Carpenter
Title: The Boys From Eighth and Carpenter
Author: Tom Mendicino
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary/Gay literary fiction
Page Count: 416
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


S. Gagliano & Son has been a barber shop fixture in South Philly for decades. Frankie and Michael Gagliano’s Italian immigrant father—Luigi to his customers, Papa to his sons—presides over the store, enlisting his children as soon as they’re big enough to wield a broom. On their mother’s deathbed, eight-year-old Frankie swears that he and his little brother will always take care of each other, a vow he endeavors to keep through their father’s violent outbursts and the string of wives who try to take their mother’s place.

After their father’s death, Frankie takes over the shop, transforming it to fit in with the gentrifying neighborhood. Michael becomes a successful prosecutor with a rising political career, still close to his big brother despite the differences between them. Then comes an unthinkable, impulsive act that will force Michael to choose between risking his comfortable life and keeping a sacred oath—made before he knew how powerful a promise can be.

The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter is a stunning evocation of working-class Italian-American life—a story of brotherhood, loyalty, and the contradictory, unpredictable nature of family love.

We all have our criteria for a 5 stars read. My criteria are:

  • I forget that I’m a human and that I HAVE to sleep.
  • I ignore EVERYONE and EVERYTHING while reading my potential 5 stars book.
  • I have tears in my eyes the moment I read the last page, IN SPITE OF HEA. I’m OVERWHELMING.
  • I’m NOT ABLE to pick up IMMEDIATELY my next book. Because I’m emotionally still in the book I’ve just finished.
  • I don’t want to list ANYTHING that could be considered as my DISLIKING. BECAUSE my liking/loving is just too big to pay any attention to this insignificance.

I love this book sooooooo much….

The Boys From Eighth and Carpenter tells a moving story of two Italian-American brothers, Frankie and Michael, the sons of a barber shop’s owner on the Eighth and Carpenter street, Philadelphia, who were always as different as two brothers could be. But it didn’t prevent them to be as closed as two brothers could only be. A family saga in its best form.

Tom Mendicino created such an intense and emotional book about brotherhood, friendship, family’s ties, courage, loyalty and varied facets of family’s love.

Evocative and verbose, atmospheric, rich in details, with memorable characters and impeccable prose.

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, , Family Saga, Gay Literary Fiction, Kensington, Tom Mendicino

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