Dodging Satan: My Irish/Italian, Sometimes Awesome, but Mostly Creepy Childhood
by Kathleen Zamboni McCormick
Read the humorous book that won the 2016 Foreword Review Gold Medal in Humor …and that shared an award with the Pope! In 2017 Pope Francis won the Gold Medal Illumination Award for Catholic books and Dodging Satan won the Bronze! Dodging Satan has won a number of other awards that you can explore to the right.
As an impressionable child, Bridget Flaherty is frightened by Catholic iconography—the snakes at Mary’s feet multiply in her dresser drawers, and the devil is everywhere. But what does all this Catholic paraphernalia really symbolize? Sexuality, clashes between her Irish and Italian families, even garlic and leather handbags are sources of family anxiety. For a while, Bridget creates supernatural worlds that resolve the tensions of real life, performing exorcisms, creating relics, and discovering the “holy” in holy water.
Her panoply of Italian relatives—glamorous Santa Anna, abused Aunt Maria, sophisticated Eleanor with a New York “Fellini pageboy”—offer sensual alternatives to the repression of her immediate family. As she discovers feminism from a “women’s-libber” neighbor and a stash of romance novels, her precarious religious world is threatened.
Are her maiden aunts from Staten Island really lesbians? Are her uncles personally encouraged to be abusive by a sexist God-the-Father who is eternally jealous that Eve chose Adam over Him? And what about her own mysterious virginity? Caught between the Church and the larger world, Bridget’s time-travelling Virgin Mary helps her enter adolescence with a new awareness and independence.