The Altar Boy

The Altar Boy : A Dark Tale of Comedy, Sorrow and the Catholic Church in the 1960s

3.33 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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Black-robed nuns, priests, bishops, the select fraternity of Altar Boys, and the ancient ceremonies of the Catholic Church. Music of the '60s, boyhood shenanigans, Cootie doctors, and coming of age. Set in the socially and politically tumultuous period of the 1960s, The Altar Boy is the fictionalized tale of Carl Sanders, a funny, sensitive kid, who's caught in the middle when his family is fractured by his parents faltering marriage and the appearance of a powerful priest. We follow Carl's confusion and pain as he watches the pious façade of the Church fall away to reveal unholy carte blanche, pain and grief. The book opens in the late 1980s. Carl and his brother down beer after beer at a favorite pub, trying to piece together their family's chaotic past. The stakes are high-someone is about to return after a 20-year absence, threatening to re-ignite the family conflict. As the brothers' painful recollections of their past become more traumatic, Carl drifts back in time to the era he tried for so many years to forget. The story is realistic, poignant, and at times very funny. Stephens shines a timely spotlight on the then-unquestioned power of the Church, while taking the reader back to the '60s era of rock & roll, Catholic schools, social upheaval, and boyhood pranks.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 270 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 15mm | 399g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0997874503
  • 9780997874501

Review quote

New! maria pooni reviewed The Altar Boy

Fantastic book! September 26, 2017

I really enjoyed this book a lot. Phil did a great job sharing experiences from his point of view that really leaves the reader to think and reflect back on their own experiences. It was written very well, and left you wanting more. I highly recommend this book and will be giving it as a gift to others.

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Lois Baldridge-Roseberry reviewed The Altar Boy

The good, not so good, and bad. November 23, 2016

Quite nostalgic in that the events described during this time period are familiar and sparked old memories. The implications of the story were sad, dark in some instances, with long lasting consequences of people's choices and behavior, mis and non communication that impacted on everyone, as well as delightfully funny while participating in church as an altar boy. It moved along steadily and was insightful from a youthful viewpoint...Read More

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Mary Ann Cline reviewed The Altar Boy

1 of 1 people found the following helpful

Thought Provoking October 11, 2016

It made me laugh in spots and feel both sad and slightly angry in others. It brought back some issues from my own childhood. The Altar Boy is the kind of book that makes you think not only while reading it, but afterwards also.

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Amazon Customer reviewed The Altar Boy

2 of 2 people found the following helpful

Five Stars September 28, 2016

With the authors memories in print allowed me to remember some of the same historical events.
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Rating details

3 ratings
3.33 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 33% (1)
3 67% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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