In the tradition of Roddy Doyle's The Woman Who Walked Into Doors comes a brilliant feat of literary ventriloquism, a debut novel by a male author introducing a one-of-a-kind female narrator.
Meet Mary Nolan (née Marelli), a tough-talking Jersey City native who comes of age during the turbulent 1970s. Adored by the small-time mafia types in her extended Italian American family–formidable but doting figures like her grandpa Louie, Tony the Horse, and Charlie Cuppacoffee–Mary grew up believing she could always count on men to protect her. But after marrying young to escape her parents, Mary finds herself sidelined by life with a philandering husband and two needy young sons, her dreams as shattered as the city around her.
By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Mary tells of her unusual route to independence, and about the lives she touches–and is touched by–along the way. From Aunt Dot and Aunt Loretta, who get her started in "business," to the ex-nuns who listen to her troubles even as they ask her for relationship advice, to the nosy neighborhood housewives determined to befriend her, Mary finds allies in the unlikeliest of places. How she learns to stand on her own "legitimately"–triumphantly–is the heart of Bill Gordon's remarkable first novel.
From the Hardcover edition.