Catholic Girls: Stories, Poems, and Memoirs

Amber C. Sumrall, Editor, Patrice Redd Vecchione, Editor Plume Books $11.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-452-26842-5
This spirited anthology contains a range of genres--including short stories, memoirs and poetry--and a wide variety of backgrounds, yet the constants of a Catholic childhood (such as the Forbidden List, the first moments of religious doubt and a longing to be ``normal'') cut across all lines. Nearly all the pieces employ the same tone: of jaded, worldly adults looking back with both pleasure and pain at seminal experiences, such as the moment they learned that girls could not be altar boys or caught their first glimpse of a nun as a human being. Most of the authors seem to have lost their faith--or at least their blind faith--but they still remember the Catholic Church's rituals with nostalgia. In one piece, the narrator tells of traveling to another parish to confess to an unknown priest that she French-kissed with her boyfriend; ``the Catholic Church has a problem with anything French: kissing, underwear, movie stars,'' she notes. Another recounts the events in her Ukrainian neighborhood after her thick-witted, cigarette-smoking, boy-chasing friend awakened one morning with stigmata. Sumrall edited Touching Fire: Erotic Writings by Women ; Vecchione is a poet. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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