April 14th, 2013

The Namesake

by Steven Parlato


Gifted artist? Standout student? All his teachers are sure certain that Evan Galloway can be the graduate who brings glory to small, ordinary St. Sebastian’s School. As for Evan, however, he can’t be bothered anymore. Since the shock of his young father’s suicide last spring, Evan no longer cares about the future. In fact, he believes that he spent the first fifteen years of his life living a lie. Despite his mother’s encouragement and the steadfast companionship of his best friend, Alexis, Evan is mired in rage and bitterness. Good memories seem ludicrous when the present holds no hope. Then Evan’s grandmother hands him the key–literally, a key–to a locked trunk that his father hid when he was the same age as Evan is now. Digging into the trunk and the small-town secrets it uncovers, Evan can begin to face who his father really was, and why even the love of his son could not save him.

In a voice that resonates with the authenticity of grief, Steven Parlato tells a different kind of coming-of-age story, about a boy thrust into adulthood too soon, through the corridor of shame, disbelief, and finally…compassion.


As much as it pains me to say it, I’m calling a Did Not Finish on this one. The Namesake is acclaimed as a “searching story” about a “boy’s too early coming-of-age”, but nobody tells you it’s disturbing. I’m here to inform you that this novel’s fourteen and up recommendation should probably be rethought. I won’t go into details about The Namesake‘s many issues– both the ones it treats and the ones it possesses– but suffice it to say that I can only recommend this novel to those who appreciate a good and twisted turn of events. I’m sure that,¬†intrinsically, The Namesake is a wonderful, emotionally impactive, life-changing book– it’s just not one that I’m ready to read.


Thank you to the publisher for the ARC.

I’ll keep you posted,

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