Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Great funny/tragic book for anyone with an open mind
on 15 August 1997
This is the compelling story of a boy from an American missionary family living in Switzerland who vacation every year in Portofino, Italy.
Having been a missionary child myself (although my parents were nothing like Calvin's and from a different flavor of Protestantism) I could relate to many of the situations in the book . Calvin's family lives in a sort of fundamentalist La La land where Catholics are the ultimate evil and must be converted yet free will has no meaning and only the "elect" are saved. They would be a moral superfamily if they lived by their own ideals, but the father has an uncontrollable temper and the mother goes against everything in which she says she believes in the one scene in the book which streatches credulity (I won't give away the details), making the sinners they are trying to convert look like the real saints.
In the end, Calvin shows signs of becoming a normal productive member of society by thinking critically about the things which have been drilled into his head by his family and engaging in harmless but nonetheless forbidden activities which are a normal part of coming of age.
A word of warning: although the book sets boundaries of decency which are never crossed, I'm sure that many fundamentalists would be aghast at its light treatment of a way of thinking which is still prevalent today.