Cover Image: The Catholic School

The Catholic School

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Member Reviews

What a slog this was. If it hadn’t been a NetGalley book I would have given up pretty early on. As it is, I skipped large chunks – although to be fair the author suggests the reader does this if it’s all becoming a bit much. Which I feel is a great big cop-out. Why write a book and then suggest some of it isn’t worth bothering about? Anyway, I took his advice and missed some of the endless reflections/diatribes/essays and don’t feel that actually ploughing through them would have enhanced my life in any way. The book centres on a notorious rape and murder case in Rome in 1975 when 3 middle-class young men raped and tortured 2 young women and murdered one of them. The three had attended a prestigious Catholic high school, San Leone Magno, the same school which the author also attended and much of the book is taken up with drawing links between the crime and the education they had received both at school and within the family - “The bourgeois family this book is about” says the author. The author attempts an analysis of what turned well-brought up boys into murderers. On the way he spends page after endless page giving his views about sex, violence, class, masculinity – especially masculinity – education, women, Catholicism etc etc and it all becomes very tedious. I went with it at first as the school episodes are relatively engaging but after a while I just wanted it all to stop. Self-indulgent pretentious misogyny masquerading as literature - and so very very long.
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I was intrigued to pick up a book that was such a hit in Italy. But, perhaps like the Elena Ferrante, novels, the style of this novel just didn’t work for me. 

A grad school professor once told my class (regarding a page limit for a paper) if you can’t say what you need to within my page limit, you need to edit. And, you all need to edit. 

That advice could easily be given here. The author does not use five words when he can use 105. And after about 150 pages, realizing I had over 1,000 to go, I chose to move on and spend my reading hours elsewhere.
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