In Revere, In Those Days

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Anthony Benedetto, the narrator of In Revere, In Those Days, spent his younger years in Revere, Massachusetts, during a seemingly simpler, more innocent period of time. At the age of eleven, all of that changed when his parents died in a terrible airplane crash in the late 1960’s. His kind, loving grandparents rear Anthony, helping him to build inner confidence and strength, as he begins a long journey that takes him from his beloved roots in Revere and greatly enriches his life. His grandfather Dom gets Anthony involved playing hockey, which eventually leads to his enrollment in Phillips Exeter Academy, a very prestigious prep school. Anthony seeks the real meaning of life and where and how he fits into society.

In describing the hardworking, Italian American Benedetto family, author Roland Merullo creates real-life characters who stand out in Anthony’s life and make the book read more like a memoir than a novel. In particular, Anthony’s Uncle Peter, whose heart is broken numerous times by self-delusion and worldly addictions, is vividly portrayed not only for his human frailties, but for the great love and respect he has earned from his family and community. Rosalie, Peter’s daughter and Anthony’s beloved cousin, comes alive through her demise inflicted by self-hatred.

Although sometimes too predictable, the story encourages, uplifts, and warms the human heart. As Anthony experiences life and the process of overcoming personal tragedy, he rediscovers his sense of belonging to a large, loving family and his roots in a rich heritage that was left behind in Revere. The blessings, the rich family ties and love associated with his earlier life are enveloped into the central core of his adult life, as Anthony comes of age and finds his place in the world.