I came across this book as it was one of the free books from the blogs that I mentioned in my previous post, normally I don’t read non-fiction but occasionally I come across something that catches my attention.
The Girl In The Italian Bakery by Kenneth Tingle.
Our story begins with Kenny Tingle the youngest of three boys in the project in Lawrence, MA. Kenny and his brothers are trying to stay out of trouble but the Stadium project is a tough neighborhood and with a name like Tingle being picked on by the other kids is just part of the territory. Kenny lives with his mother and two older brothers Tommy and Gary. Tommy the oldest had mental illness and constantly tormented by the local hoodlums. Gary spends most of his time caught in the middle trying to protect his older brother while also looking after his little brother.
Over the next several years Kenny's mother struggles without any help from the boys father and Tommy is soon off to a group home, leaving Kenny and Gary behind. The boys are forced to move from one place to the next finding no real roots or sense of security. Kenny and Gary moved to an especially tough part of town and get mixed up with the wrong crowd. The next thing Kenny knows he is 11 years old and in the back of a police car in handcuffs. On probation Kenny finds it hard to walk a straight line and quickly falls back into bad habits. His mother doesn't know what to do with him and quietly gives up on him. Kenny is then placed in foster care and bounces from one family to another.
Kenny returns to his family to find his older brother has moved out and it just he and his mother now. He tries to stay out of trouble but occasionally get into mischief. One afternoon while on his way home from school Kenny gets turned around and goes a different way home and stumbles across Pappy's Bakery, there at the counter is the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Kenny continues on but the beautiful girl is always in the back of his mind haunting his thoughts for years to come.
I started this book and was immediately confused with the name of the book and the point of view the book was written from, but I also love the moment when you realize the reason the book got its title.
I mostly enjoyed the book but I don't really know if I would recommend it to read. Immediately I found this as a really slow read and it took me sometime before I was really hooked and wanted to move more quickly through the book. I did find it wasn't long before I started to really enjoy all the mischief and exploits that Kenny gets himself into. If you enjoy non-fiction and don't mind the stalls in the story you might enjoy this book. It does have a nice ending and teaches a really good lesson.