Frank Schaeffer Portofino

ISBN 13: 9780552772877

Portofino

3.77 avg rating
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9780552772877: Portofino
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'Some kids I met told lies to be special. I told lies to be normal...' It is the early 1960s and for young Calvin Becker, the son of embarrassingly over-zealous American missionaries, the family holiday in the Italian resort of Portofino is the highlight of the year. But even under the influence of the seductive Italian summer, the remaining members of Calvin's family seem incapable of ever really relaxing. His father is always slipping into one of his Bad Moods, his mother insists on trying to convert the 'pagans' on the beach. As for his sister Janet, she keeps a ski sweater and a Bible in her suitcase because you never knew when the Russians might invade and pack you off to Siberia. Calvin's dad says everything is part of God's Plan. But this particular summer, Calvin has a few plans of his own...plans that involve such exuberantly pagan locals as Gino the whisky-drinking painter, the Bagnino and his boats, the very sensible (and very English) Bazlinton family and, most of all, their very lovely daughter Jennifer. Deliciously observed and deliriously funny, PORTOFINO is a wry, affectionate and wonderfully sustained evocation of a time, a place and a particular point in a young person's life.

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About the Author:

Born in 1952, Frank Schaeffer is a writer and film director whose parents were missionaries, who has lived in Switzerland and has holidayed on the Italian Riviera. He now lives in Massachusetts. Portofino was his first novel.

From Kirkus Reviews:

From the author of The Scapeweed Goat (1989): a pleasant, low- key comedy of manners about a family of fundamentalists and their hormone-driven son who vacation each year on the Italian Riviera. Calvin Becker, ten, has been vacationing at a pensione on the Riviera with his parents ever since he turned three. Reformed Protestants, his parents bicker ceaselessly with each other while they try to reform the European Roman Catholic world. Dad had ``a highly developed sense of personal grievance,'' and Calvin, along with his mother and two sisters, spends a good deal of time trying to gauge ``Dad's Moods.'' Set during 1962-65, the novel works largely as a picaresque as Calvin explores the town, makes friends, discovers the dual pleasures of drink and female companionship (mostly innocent), and walks a thin family line between sophistry and lying. The book is vivid with the things that Calvin sees and experiences: the yachts of the ``Very Wealthy,'' snorkeling (and, eventually, getting entangled by an octopus), the sights of the large hotels on the family's waterfront strolls, and, especially, the stories of the family's Prayer Charts and Sword Drills (the Bible is their sword) and long dining-room benedictions. Finally, Calvin rebels and refuses to carry his Gospel Walnut with him. He shoots a cat with his spear-gun, adopts a family of ``sadly lost Roman Catholics,'' and, reacting to love-interest Jennifer, begins to wonder how to hide his ``Little Thing'' when it gets hard--those tight Italian bathing suits, you know. Finally, though, after his parents discover his drinking, ``My wickedness brought the family back together.'' Sometimes contrived or predictable, but, overall, good-humored diversion: a wry coming-of-age tale with a few splendid laugh-out- loud moments. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780026070515: Portofino

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0026070510 ISBN 13:  9780026070515
Publisher: Scribner, 1992
Hardcover

9780425149812: Portofino

Berkley, 1996
Softcover

9780552997492: Portofino

Bantam..., 1997
Softcover

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