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Lunatic Heroes [Paperback]

Amanda Palmer , C. Anthony Martignetti
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £9.37 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

31 Aug 2012
Dark, comic, raw, disturbing, and often redemptive, these fifteen tales will take you from the 1950s to the present, along with a repeating cast of heroes and lunatics. The characters span the breadth and the depths of human qualities and capacities. The same person, in one story, may materialize as a hero and a god, and in another, as a lunatic and a demon. While the author roughs up the people in his stories with the hand of terror, he simultaneously views them with the eyes of love. Martignetti spares no one, and to his credit, particularly not himself. For one who confesses so much fear, he is fearlessly self-revealing. After reading this memoir collection, you will come to know these characters, and the author, intimately. Not that you’d necessarily want to, it’s just the way things will turn out. About the author: C. Anthony Martignetti, Ph.D., is a writer and psychotherapist in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife, Laura, and their Border Terrier, Piper. In the late 1960s, as a high school graduation gift, his mother tried to nominate him for a Pulitzer Prize, but the panel refused to accept her recommendation since nobody had heard of either him or her... and all he had ever written were assignments for an English class in which he received a solid B. He got a set of Samsonite luggage as a graduation gift instead. As a result of that event he has remained, to this day, defiantly unpublished.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: 3 Swallys Press (31 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988230003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988230002
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.3 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 850,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, honest, inspiring. 25 Aug 2013
Firstly, I have to thank Mr Martignetti for writing this. Not only is his book an inspiring and enthralling read, but it's caused me to do some reflecting of my own. For the better, I'd like to think.

The most beautiful thing about it, about him, is the sheer humanity of his writing. Akin to Amanda Palmer's songs, he holds nothing back. His honesty is something to admire - It takes a lot to tell the truth, no matter how brutal.

The final chapter, 'Hate', was to me both stunning and hilarious. It tells an incredible story, but reminded me of one of the many reasons I love being from the UK. We are exceptional at hating things. And people. And inanimate objects. As a country we are unified in silent hatred of pretty much everything (ourselves very much included), and we are all often thinking "KILL!" - making everything easier to laugh at. Martignetti writes directly to the audience, addressing each reader personally, never placing himself above. I intend to venture to the US next year, I hope your his regular spot serves good coffee.

I fully intend to share this book with as many people as I can, a few friends are already queuing up to read it (hopefully I can convince a few to buy it!), and I'm sure it will go far.

Now, I give Mr Martignetti the highest compliment an artist can receive, a request: MORE!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Burden of Being 1 Nov 2012
I love this book. A scourgingly frank, beautifully honest and very funny look at growing up as an Italian Ameriacan. Antonios experiences are played out is a way that makes the reader see, feel and breath as he did. As a child being told that you are bad, useless and doomed to hell resonates with all of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s under the roof of a family clinging on to religion by their finger tips. I really enjoyed reading "Prayers" and "Slap". That was us, that was me, that was my parents, that was. But I never had a Nonna. We all need a Nonna. Read it...! St Felix of Belfast that was.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Storyteller 5 Nov 2012
By Jamy Ian Swiss - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lunatic Heroes: Memories, Lies and Reflections
By C. Anthony Martnetti

In the introduction to Lunatic Heroes by C. Anthony Martignetti, singer/songwriter/musician/rockstar Amanda Palmer writes, "Anthony is a therapist, and a good listener."

That succinct characterization, included in a moving introduction about her lifelong relationship with Martignetti, whom she has known as a "mentor," "guru," [and] "best friend" since she was nine years old, describes in accurate and deliberate understatement the narrative voice of this powerful storyteller in his book, Lunatic Heroes. The title, which refers to his boyhood family, in reality, of course, describes all of us who suffer as fellow captives in the Human Condition.

This collection of stories both long and short amounts to a memoir of Martignetti's youth, growing up in the outskirts of Boston amid his Italian-American forebears. A sensitive boy who often felt isolated and outcast, his innate discomfort and alienation was reflected in early habits of nail-biting, self-afflicted hickeys, and a general resistance to most of the food his family routinely ate, "including, but not limited to: whole-roasted goat head ... pigs' feet, congealed blood pie, baby cow stomachs ... [and] "[g]arlic, garlic, and more garlic, garlic out your butt." As a result he was routinely insulted and beaten by his narcissistic mother, who would at other times smother him in love he craved, but whose mood would rarely last the day without including a dark turn. "Home was the place of love's promise," Martignetti observes, "and also the place where the wounds of love churned."

The stories and characters aren't all dark, some are positively comic (if darkly comic at that), with anecdotes of school friends and extended families and a larger-than-life grandfather who would let young Anthony carry a bag of cash to the bank, while "Nonno" followed behind, loaded gun in hand. The author often manages to strike an ironic if rueful tone even when describing routine lunacies, such as his mother gluing Lee Press-On Nails over his own in order to keep him from nail-biting - which led to his acquiring a taste for the plastic nails, which she would sometimes hand him as a treat when out in public, like giving a child a piece of candy.

Young Anthony's relationship with his father was no less complex, tracking a range of highs and lows that eventually led to his father's confession when "...years later he told me he loved me because I was his son, but that I just wasn't his type of guy." The author adds, "He was my idol, and I needed to be his type of guy." Don't we all.

The best non-fiction literature is that which uses the micro to illustrate the macro, and the compelling beauty of Martignetti's stories can be found in the parallel truths unique to his experience that lie side-by-side with truths that are unmistakably universal, and the tension and balance between the two keeps one riveted to the page. I laughed, I cried ...

In a tale of a mystic and magisterial bullfrog, a longtime resident at the local pond, Martignetti looks back on the cruelties of older boys who eventually trap the animal - a moment in which I had to turn away from the page in fear of impending cruelty - and draws connection and insight between the tragic creature and those Buddhist monks who immolated themselves in protest against an oppressive North Vietnamese regime. Looking back, "The monk who gave his life was a hero to me, as was Bullfrog before him."

Martignetti's super power is the ability to see these connections that are invisible to or overlooked by others, and the simultaneous humor and horror thereby revealed is impossible to turn away from. In recounting a first childhood crush, and its encompassing sense of inchoate longing, he recalls, "I had no idea what to do with her - I was a rabbit chasing a tricycle." Comic or tragic, the author's vision is unfailingly 20-20.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Could Be Heroes... 5 Oct 2012
By Belfast Child - Published on
So much this Irish Catholic identified with in this deeply moving memoir of an Italian-American growing up in North End of Boston and elsewhere in New England. 15 essays, that take checkpoints from childhood to the death of the author's mother, arouse hilarity and heartbreak in equal measure. I was introduced to characters that are odd, eccentric, fat, stem-skinny, comical, wise, lunatic, and heroic, and when I was done, I knew them, and I miss them. Subtitled "Memories, Lies and Reflections," I couldn't help recognizing that, within the lies the author might be referring to, there are deep emotional truths. Given the dark and sometimes disconcerting tales, surprisingly enough, I found it all comforting. Sharing nostalgia with a time and place I didn't know, but recognized, and a time and place I know now. Reading to know I'm not alone; very, very enjoyable.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visceral! 18 Oct 2012
By Steven K. Bogart - Published on
The voice of the author lifts from the page and into our hearts like prometheus railing against the gods. The stories resonate with something deeper: wish fulfillment, confession, a cry for redemption.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roller Coaster 9 April 2013
By Warrior Girl - Published on
"If your words were a roller coaster I could ride... I would raise the safety bar and stand and scream with arms outstretched during every climatic peak."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave and courageous 28 April 2014
By APLP - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wonder how many of us would be able to crack open our minds and hearts and let the contents come pouring out on the pages of a book for the world to read. This book exposes the author's private and very personal childhood and tells a beautiful and haunting story of growing up in an environment mixed with love and fear. This book is truly exceptional.
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