Antonia Lucia Labella has two secrets: at fifteen, shes still waiting for her first kiss, and she wants to be a saint. An official one. Seem strange? Well, to Antonia, saints are royalty, and she wants her chance at being a princess. All her life shes kept company with these kings and queens of small favors, knowing exactly whom to pray to on every occasion. Unfortunately, the two events Antonias prayed for seem equally unlikely to happen. Its not for lack of trying. For how long has she been hoping to gain the attention of the love of her life the tall, dark, andso good-looking Andy Rotellini? Too long to mention. And every month for the last eight years, Antonia has sent a petition to the Vatican proposing a new patron saint and bravely offering herself for the post. So what if shes not dead?
But as Antonia learns, in matters of the heart and sainthood, things are about as straightforward as wound-up linguini, and sometimes you need to recognize the signs.
I Pray to St. Sebastian About Gym
Class and Thank God Im Not Named After
the Patron Saint of Snakebites
I gazed up at the familiar boy. A golden aura surrounds his beautiful, muscular body, arrows poking into him from every direction.
Poor saint, I thought to myself. I hope it doesnt hurt. Sebastians stare was piercing, as if he were looking right through me. As if his gaze were another arrow pointed my way.
I closed my eyes but the image stayed. It should. The picture of St. Sebastian had been hanging on the wall in our living room for as long as I could remember, right near the old-fashioned record player my mother listened to when she was dusting all the other saint statues and figurines, her daily tribute to the men and women who watch over us. Occasionally Id come home from school and Mom would be belting out Thats Amore or Volare in her just-off-the-boat Italian accent. I had to be careful not to ...
Freitas is freshest and most interesting when writing about people who aren't
Italian and issues that are not related to Catholic saints. While the
first generation Italians are painfully stereotypical,
Antonia is finely drawn - she has an earthy liveliness, an amusing lack of
self-knowledge, a distinct voice and a charming yearning for experiencing life,
especially a perfect first kiss.
I'm not sure Freitas needed to suspend the laws of nature and include miracles of the strictly religious and extravagant sort. The Labella's fig trees, Antonia's youthful energy, the generosity of her friends, her mother's love and fresh pasta, and, of course, her first kiss, are miraculous enough.
Grandmothers, mothers and daughters will enjoy sharing this comic story of a miraculous first romance. (Reviewed by Jo Perry).
Full Review (922 words).
Los Angeles artist J. Michael Walker thinks a lot like Antonia Labella, heroine of The Possibilities of Sainthood. In the summer of 2008 he exhibited a series of large portraits of saints whose names are commemorated in the roads and streets of many Los Angeles neighborhoods. Each large, ink on paper portrait portrays a contemporary person as one of the saints of the City of the Angels. The portraits connect the individual stories with the histories of saints, and blend the quotidian and the miraculous.
For his paintings, Walker researched not just the Catholic saints but the 103 L.A. streets which have been named after them. In this way he created a spiritual history of the ...
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