What The Critics Are Saying:
“Epiphanies await Bridey throughout 'Dodging Satan,' and such well-drawn, jaw-dropping moments are significant for the ways that they promote a rethinking of the role of a 'good little girl.” - Foreward Reviews
“‘Dodging Satan’ is comedic, gothic, symbolic, and sharp. Much like burgeoning womanhood, it presents a girl’s coming-of-age as fast and messy and provides a hopeful resolution that takes the rest of one’s life to untangle.” - South Carolina Review
"Kathleen Zamboni McCormick welcome to the arena of the finest in contemporary comedic writing. Her future is assured."
- Grady Harp, Amazon Top 100 Reviewer, Vine Voice
"Vivid details, psychological tension, and a quirky character [await]... in this funny, ...touching and unsettling ... volume....both quintessentially American and deeply Italian....McCormick illuminates what is often hidden with delicate details and unaffected language that resonates with all readers." - Italian Americana
"Exceptionally well written with wit and weirdness, 'Dodging Satan' is a consistently compelling read from beginning to end. One of those unusual and unique novels, 'Dodging Satan' will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf." - The Midwest Book Review
"'Dodging Satan' manages to be both theological and comical. Indeed, it finds comedy in theology, especially when it's taking theology seriously. McCormick gives a real sense for what Andrew Greeley has described as the Catholic imagination, especially how it might shape a young girl with an ever-churning imagination." - Commonweal Magazine
"There were times when I had tears rolling down my cheeks, such as when Bridget discovers the holy in the holy water. The child view of these things is expertly written--in fact, this bit of writing is possibly the most fascinating part of the book. 'Dodging Satan' promises to be one of those books that will change you in ways you'll never forget." - blog.johnmuellerbooks.com
"Zamboni-McCormick creates a unique voice by allowing Bridget's inner dialogue to take center stage. Playfully tossing around words and phrases such as "cuz,""q.t.," and "know what I mean," she frames the narrative and establishes an extended conversation between Bridget and the reader." - Kestrel
“As Bridget, Kathleen Zamboni McCormick narrates what she witnesses through a young girl’s voice, and marvellously captures the confusion she feels because of the conflict between what she’s being taught and what she sees in the world beyond the classroom.” - readersfavorite.com
From the Inside Flap
“The protagonist in this playful but gripping … tale … draws on a hilarious mishmash of Catholic popular culture, creating outrageous cosmic narratives to make sense of it all. (God the Father pissed off at married women because Eve chose Adam over Him? Priceless!) Women who didn’t have access to the Catholic Imagination while growing up will be jealous.” - Michael P. Carroll—Madonnas that Maim, Catholic Cults and Devotions, The Cult of the Virgin Mary and many other studies of popular Catholicism
“A coming of age feminist consciousness story that navigates gender in the contexts of domestic and celestial hierarchies…. Bridget’s is a world where frightening and glorious relationships exist between phosphorous and holiness, virgins and bicycles, crucifixes and spices, time-travel and world hunger, exorcism and mascara.” - Annie Rachele Lanzillotto, L is for Lion: an italian bronx butch freedom memoir
“We follow Bridget with trepidation, captivated by her vulnerability and her fierceness, trusting there’s much to learn from her journey.” - Edvige Giunta, Writing with an Accent and co-editor of Personal Effects
“Deeply perceptive and slyly voiced.” - George Guida, author of The Pope Stories and Other Tales of Troubled Times
“…outdoes Mary McCarthy’s Memories of a Catholic Girlhood in its wit, intelligence and irresistible mixture of realism and charm…. simply a joy to read.” - Josephine Gattuso Hendin, Vulnerable People: A View of American Fiction Since 1945; Heart Breakers: Women and Violence in Contemporary Culture and Literature; The Right Thing To Do
Dodging Satan by Kathleen McCormick is a unique coming of age story about a girl who has to deal with an Irish side and an Italian side of her family. The two sides clash on a regular basis over any number of topics, but are both so deeply religious that they can't help but having a happy middle ground. Kathleen deals with many different issues as a catholic school girl. Some are common for girls her age, such as maturity, a wild imagination that manifests itself in the form of re-tellings of biblical stories, and puberty. However, others are much more individual such as when she was forbidden for talking about her uncles in class because her family believed they survived World War 2 because they were wearing their crucifixes. Some of the highlights of the autobiography are when Kathleen believes that God must live in her Dad's shoes because his feet kept him out of the war, or that Satan moved into her room once she had to start sleeping in a double bed instead of a crib, or the many different things her mother would say that covered domestic abuse from her young child. While the majority of the story is written in a humorous manner, there is an undertone at times that leaves the reader feeling bad for this young girl and what she had to go through. Writing with both humor and sadness successfully are both attributes that prove you have found a good writer. Nice job Kathleen.
The story follows the growing up of a young catholic girl – born of an Italian mother to an Irish father, she seems to struggle with the worst aspects of both cultures. The book is very well-written and draws you into Bridget’s world, which is utterly dominated by Catholicism. If she works hard and gains good results at school, she is chided for the sin of pride; if she underachieves she is wasting her God-given talents! As a teacher, I was horrified by the constant undermining that she suffered at the hands of her teachers. We are supposed to instil confidence and encourage young minds – the education Bridget receives is farcical.
The humour in the story comes from Bridget’s attempts to understand the bible; a case in point is her opinion that God was fed up with Eve because she rejected his advances and thus was expelled from the Garden of Eden. Underlying the humour are stories of marital violence played out daily among Bridget’s relations. Women are supposed to put up with the punishment meted out by drunken bullies. The story ends with Bridget affirming that she will not go down this route – feminism has raised its head by this point and she will become a modern woman, educated and strong.
Hilarious and sad, but a great book to read
There is someone hilarious and sad wrapped up in the one story of Dodging Satan. There is the hilarity of Bridget's innocent perspective of her faith in the points of view of her Irish and Italian family. How she believes God is glowing his spirit through her crucifix as well as her father's slippers. Or her indulgence prayer math she does to stay out of trouble during sermons. There is also her fear of Satan and her night terrors and her parents' daily arguments that are loud enough for the neighborhood to hear. It's her coming of age about her heritage, her friends, and her faith and how they all come together to make her unique. I love how she describes her way of thinking about Catholicism, women's lib, and growing up in the 60s and 70s. There are some heartbreaking moments shared, but there are also touching moments that have shaped her just as much. I chuckled in every chapter about something crazy, whether it was something a family member did or the words she used to describe it. "Relicky goodness" is definitely not a phrase you hear every day.