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A Friend of the Family - cover

A Friend of the Family

Mark Conte

Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing

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Summary

A story of America.  Donovan Scali is the illicit child of a married woman and a married man—who are not married to each other.  The woman dies in childbirth, and the distraught husband kills the child’s father. 
After spending the first five years of his life in a convent, Donovan is five years old when he is taken to the South Philadelphia Home for Lost Boys, in the Devil's Pocket section of Philadelphia.  When the orphanage burns down one night, the people of the Devil's Pocket each take one of the children to their home to care for them until the State can make other arrangements.  In the O'Connor home, for the first time Donovan has found a family.  They are boisterous and rowdy, and he loves the Devil's Pocket and all the people in their neighborhood: but a tragic event takes Donovan away from this idyll. 
He survives the fifties and joins the army.  He is in Germany when JFK stands at the Berlin Wall and says, "Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner) to the long-suffering people in Berlin.  Six months later, Donovan is sent to Vietnam where he witnesses a whole village wiped out.  Coming home, he attends Florida state University’s graduate program in Creative Writing: he is scapegoated when radicals blow up a building and is sent to prison. His girlfriend takes care of his adopted Vietnamese child.  When he is released, he is a hero on campus.  
A Friend of the Family is a story that takes the reader through WW II, the election and murder of JFK, the Berlin wall, Vietnam and the world of student protests and radical groups.  It is a story of the heart of America, and of the tragic events that change it and the people that are caught up in its history. 

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