Book Review of Feast or Famine – Introduction
After a really hectic week at work, I was looking forward to reading something humorous and entertaining in order to recharge my batteries. And this weekend, I was rewarded for all that hard work in the form of a brilliant ebook called Feast or Famine written by Augustus Cileone. I don’t normally read many eBooks preferring the hardcover ones over them, but reading the brief excerpt of the book piqued my curiosity and boy, was I glad to have read this novel.
A humorous, satirical take on the restrictions imposed by the Catholic church during the 1960’s and 1970’s, Feast or Famine is written brilliantly while placing an emphasis on Italian food, family and passion from a unique vantage point. I’m a huge fan of P. G. Woodhouse and love the witty satire in his books and normally very few books have so far managed to rival his works. Now, Feast or Famine is nowhere close to that but is definitely a one of those rare books that manage to get your attention hooked even before you’re done with the first chapter. With great characters, witty dialogues and just the right pace, Feast or Famine is a delight to read and is thoroughly enjoyable to the core.
Summary of Feast or Famine
The novel, Feast or Famine opens by introducing us to the character of Mike Accordo, who essays the role of an English teacher. Mike has not spoken for a long time due to a traumatic event in his life and therefore spends his time mainly with his surrogate mother cum therapist. As part of his recover program, he often visits Italy along with his mother, Ambrosia. Since he is unable to speak, Mike maintains a memoir of sorts through which he is able to hear his voice and speak to Ambrosia
“Eat, drink, and be merry? It’s more like eat, drink, and be miserable!”
The story takes the reader from the South of Philadelphia all the way to Florence, Italy and in between there are various stories involving deceit, drugs, friendship and even murder. Talk about contrasting events all at once! At every chapter, there is a new angle to the book and that’s what keeps the interest level alive. As to the reason why Mike is unable to talk, that’s a little bit of suspense involved and it’s revealed only towards the end of the book.
Obviously I’m not going to spoil the fun and reveal that bit so you’ll have to find out for yourself. And trust me; you’re not going to be disappointed one bit! The book is a roller coaster of emotions with a good amount of humor and satire to make it worthwhile. The best part about the book in undoubtedly, the contrast between South Philly and Italy and the satire involving the Catholic Church is hilarious and not one to be missed.
Oh and by the way, this one’s a boon for food lovers. You’ll just have to read it to find out why!
“When I was young, I believed that that heavenly food would purge my person of the sins I was guilty of committing”
Feast or Famine – My thoughts on the Book
On a personal note, I was really impressed by the book and there were some moments in the book that had me in splits from laughing too much. The author has got the whole Italian, Catholic and South Philadelphia setting absolutely spot on so much so that I could literally imagine myself in some of the scenes.
Even before I had finished the first couple of chapters, I knew that I was in for a very entertaining and intelligent read! The author, Gus Cileone has a writing style that’s very easy on the eyes and brings you into the skins of the various characters very early one. That for me is one of the key strengths of the book and because of that the timing and placement of every witty remark is absolutely bang on.
At certain points in the book, I was confused whether to laugh or cry or do both at once and all in all it’s a book that’s definitely worth spending both money and time on. Mike Accordo is a character you’ll definitely remember for a long time and I wouldn’t be lying when I say that Feast or Famine is a pure pleasure to read.
Final Verdict on Feast or Famine
Feast or Famine is an impressive novel by Gus Cileone and although not a book for the masses, has everything going right for it in terms of content, humor, satire and style. His style of writing captures the essence of the 1960′s and ’70′s very well and puts the reader in a place where the nurturing and suffocation of the soul happens at the same time. All said and done, I’d give Feast or Famine a good 4 stars out of 5!
Feast or Famine is priced very economically and is available on the Kindle as well over at Amazon as an ebook.
About the Author, Augustus Cileone:
Augustus Cileone was born in Philadelphia. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from Temple University. He later studied at Saint Joseph’s University and acquired teaching certificates in elementary and secondary education.
Augustus Cileone won the Dark Oak Mystery Contest sponsored by Oak Tree Press, which published his first novel, A Lesson in Murder. He has also been honored for his writing by Annual Art Affair, Hidden River Arts, and the annual Writer’s Digest writing competition, The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, the Montgomery County Community College’s Annual Writers’ Club Poetry and Fiction Contest, Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards, and the Annual Story Pros International Screenplay Contest.
Don Ron Books has also including one of his short stories in their collection entitled South Philly Fiction. Gus Cileone makes his home in Montgomery County, just outside of Philadelphia and you can connect with him to learn more about Feast or Famine by Clicking Here