If you have followed my blog you know that I wrote The Brown and White starting just out of high school and ending 40 years later. I mentioned to a journalist one time I had lost the manuscript about 30 years ago and I had to rewrite it from scratch. I am not sure if he believed me, but it was true. I got the idea from reading John Powers Last Catholic in American and being such a fan. Powers was from the neighborhood next to mine and some of the setting from his books were those of my own world. I think I had actually started my book by the time Power’s Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up. I think I was also motivated by Powers because I worked at Kroch’s and Brentano’s Bookstore and saw his books fly off the shelves at Evergreen Plaza. I may have begun my book thinking of winning the reputation of a local writer, but in time the book was an exercise in fortitude. Catholic stories were not flying off the shelf as time went on. But my story is my story–my life.
My book is a “back in the day” Chicago Irish Catholic story. If you happen to be Irish Catholic and are interested in reading threads of diversity, this is not your book. But if you like Irish Catholic stories of faith and family you will likely get a charge out of this book. I wrote the story as something that I myself would like.
At a literary event The Brown and White and I were placed a few feet away from an Irish author who wrote another series book on the Irish. Without reading a page of my book he obviously thought I was some kind of tosser and had his agent move him to a new spot. My book is authentic Irish Catholic Chicago it is not meant to be authentic Irish from Ireland.
In Chicago there are tremendous Catholic High Schools. The Brown and White is about my experiences at one of them. Going back and forth from home and high school the book is about the experiences we had–the things that affected our character. Like most of the reading stack that I keep my bed, The Brown and White offers is a decent read each night. I read enough during the day, but at night I like a chapter or two and then it’s dream land. Give it a try.