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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

The Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition comes to life in this popular online comic strip collected here for the first time, complete with a foreword by Steve Geppi and a cookbook for serving up your own Feast!…

Overall Book Review:

The overall idea for Feast of the Seven Fishes by Robert Tinnell is a wonderful depiction of a typical Italian family celebrating the Christmas Eve tradition of a meatless supper made up of seven types of fish. There are also recipes included in the back of the book so the reader, if he or she so desired, could make their own Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Unexpected was a wannabe stripper, discussions about needing a boyfriend or girlfriend at least during Christmas (dumping them after New Year’s is totally fine), and some mature discussions about sex and birth control. This took away from the fun concept of showing an Italian family’s traditions to an absolutely white American girl with no traditions whatsoever. I was also a bit disappointed in the ending. I am more of a happy ending type of person, and this one felt like it ended a bit more realistically than I liked for a Christmas book. However, the actual depiction of the Italian family is spot-on, especially during the feasting scenes, and the recipes in the back of this book are quite a nice addition to a cook’s repertoire.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation; 22 mild obscenities; 3 religious profanities; 6 derogatory names; 10 scatological words; 7 anatomical terms.

 Violence/Gore:  Mention of old ladies still believing in the Evil Eye; report of death in the past; friends have a mild disagreement; a boy goes into a strip joint to try and force a girl to leave and gets punched; depiction of a boy getting beaten by a strip club owner; a girl gets fired; a former boy- and girl-friend have an argument; report of a beating; a man asks a girl who beat up a boy; a man punches a business owner; a boy asks after another boy’s eye injury; a mother and daughter fight; a woman speaks disparagingly about a girl; report of a writer’s great-grandmother’s death; mention of hardships suffered by Italian immigrants; report of a great-grandparent’s death; report of family members’ deaths.

Sex/Nudity:  A few instances of sex and nudity, including but not limited to: frequent mentions of romance, breakups, and hardships of being single during Christmas; a character jokes about a friend’s lack of girl-friends; girls talk about getting dumped and going to a bar where they might get groped by townies; characters go to a bar and are pictured with beer; a boy mentions a song about someone getting laid; mention of an ex; a girl is reported to have become a stripper; characters talk about how they used to have sex; characters joke that a boy who has two girlfriends should give one away to a friend; a girl asks a boy if they want to have sex the way they used to; characters dance; an old man dances with a young girl; a girl asks another girl what kind of birth control she used during a one-night stand; a boy and girl almost kiss; a girl’s betrothed shows up; characters talk about their romantic feelings; mention of a couple spending the night together, with implication of having sex; a boy talks about a girl trying to get him to fall into bed with him.

Mature Subject Matter:

Religious conflicts; underage drinking; stripping; reported death of a family member.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Girls want to go to a bar, or a nightclub; characters are depicted with beer; characters try a bottle of homemade chianti; a man offers a variety of alcohol to a girl; a man requests another drink be made; depiction of an Italian feast with bottles of wine on the table; a man is depicted with a glass of wine; characters drink wine and beer; characters are frequently shown with wine glasses in hand; a woman asks a girl if she smokes; mention of a city having bars and taverns; mention of homemade chianti; talk about a boy being bummed at having wine only with spicy pasta; mention of drinking during feast preparations.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Fantasy is my bread and butter. I read and write it. I’m obsessed with world-building and fascinated with lyrical prose. I love that I can contribute to the writing community by recommending good books that can actually make a difference in a person’s life.