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Monday, January 14, 2013

READ ALL ABOUT IT: The Namesake by Steven Parlato

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers...the place that no matter how busy, no matter how rushed, aims to please you with something bookish every day of the week; believe me, it's definitely one of those RUSHED days.  *-*

Yes, surprise, surprise...Monday is behaving like a Monday; go figure.  NO worries though because I've got a special treat for you courtesy of the great folks over at FSB Associates and Merit Press!  They are about to celebrate the release of TWO new titles this week, one of which I happen to be finishing as we speak and were kind enough to grant me the pleasure of sharing an extended excerpt with all of you!  I'm nearing book's end so things are really starting to form the complete nightmarish picture of all that has transpired...but I'll leave the final verdict for the upcoming review; trust me, it's a HARD read but a well written one at that.  Without further ado, today's featured title is...

The Namesake
Steven Parlato



Mister Pettafordi's office is examining room bright.
It makes me queasy, like I'm here for X-rays -- which, in a way, I am. My art teacher slash guidance counselor slash "Think of me as your friend" wants to help. That's how I landed in the vinyl visitor chair on the wrong side of his desk. I should be in silent study, passing notes to Alexis. Instead, I'm here, embarrassed for Michelangelo's David. He's beside the file cabinet, a red umbrella hanging from his crooked elbow, looking a little vulnerable, naked under the lights.
I need to write this stupid essay. Mr. P's fixated on getting me a full scholarship; he says I'm his "best student ever." But then, that's what my teachers always say.
Mister P: "Evan, you need to pursue your art."
Me: "Uh-huh."
Mister P: "Evan, you've got what it takes."
Me: "Hmm."
Mister P: "Evan, follow your dream!"
Thing is, I think it's his dream more than mine now.
But I'm trying to get a jump on this heap of applications. Pettafordi said I need to "dazzle them" with my essay. I asked what I should write about.
He said, "Evan, write what you know."
As helpful as that was, I've chosen the opposite. See, I'm not sure I want to study art, or even go to college anymore. So I'll write what I don't know. I could do twenty pages on spark plugs or the reproductive cycle of the Andean potato weevil. Except, those I could research. No. I'll tackle the true unknown.
I never knew my father.
I don't mean that in a trash TV kind of way. Like, Up Next, DNA Tests: Real Dads Revealed! It's not like that. Mom wasn't a sperm bank patron. I wasn't raised by wolverines. I've lived most of my fourteen years in a room two doors down from the man, falling asleep to his snores. I could map you his morning stubble, a whorl on his chin like Madagascar.
Nope. Nothing dramatic about the Galloways. We were typical. Mom made Campbell's soup casseroles. Dad fell asleep in the leather chair on movie night. We were about as normal as it gets. At least, that's what everyone thought.
Before last April.
Now when I think about stuff, it's all about how it used to be. We used to have Monopoly marathons. Build model planes. Gorge ourselves at China Buffet. We used to . . . whatever.
A great philosopher once said, "Used-to-bes don't count anymore."
Okay, it was this singer, Neil Diamond. My friend Alexis is a huge fan. But I disagree with Old Neil because, really, used-to-bes are the only things that do count anymore. Especially when today sucks so bad.
It's funny how perfectly life splits into before and after. Before, it was just life, crappy or un'. After, everything's different.
But I was going to tell you about my father.
My Father by Evan Galloway 
My father is tall.
My father is fun.
My father reads stories and 
Plays with me.
My father is the best, FATHER NUMBER ONE!
I wrote that in first grade. You could say my opinion of him has evolved. For one thing, I realized he was never all that tall. I admit the poem loses something sans macaroni frame, but I think it shows real literary promise. I mean, after reading that, I'm sure you can see how I ended up in Honors English, right?
Yeah, I'm smart. All through school I've been in the brain group: TAG, the Talented And Gifted Program. It's actually sort of cool, loads of field trips, elaborate, "self-guided learning opportunities." Sure, the regular kids call us "Tag Fags," but that's never really bothered me. Not much. It's jealousy, plain and simple. And come on -- tag fag? -- such an obvious rhyme. Leave it to a remedial reader.
Now I'm at Saint Sebastian's Catholic High School, third year, following Dad's footsteps. Yeah, he went here. But I one-upped the old man; I'll graduate at sixteen. They jumped me a couple grades. So I'm the second Evan Galloway to attend SSCHS. My family calls me "Junior," but technically, I'm not. Dad and I don't have the same middle name. Or, didn't. I do that sometimes, refer to him like he's still here. Like he didn't kill himself last spring. Like Gran didn't find him hanging from a beam in her attic Easter morning, while Mom and I were at Mass.


About the author...

Steven Parlato, author of The Namesake, is a writer, illustrator, and an English professor. His poetry has been featured in BorderlandsFreshwater,Connecticut River ReviewPeregrine, and Pirene's Fountain, and he is the winner of the 2011 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children's Literature. He lives with his family, and is at work on his next novel.

For more information please visit and and follow the author on Facebook


Be sure to stay tuned for my forth coming review of this Young Adult title as we get ready to celebrate its BOOK BIRTHDAY debut!  Special thanks to Leyane at FSB Associates for the great information to share.  (THANKS!)  To catch up with them online, be sure to visit their official site or follow along on Twitter.

Until next time...happy reading!


....Petty Witter said...

Sounds good, I'm intrigued to read what your thoughts are.

Alexia561 said...

Love the excerpt! Hadn't heard of this one, but it sounds intriguing!

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