Top critical review
Wry humor and locker room language abound
December 4, 2018
in this tale of growing up and boundary testing. Tony Piza is newly graduated and unable to find a job in his major, philosophy. No problem, he decides to teach in a Catholic school; perfect for a nice, Italian boy. He acts like a frat fiend to start with and his transformation to teacher is the gold within the pages of “Mr. Pizza”
J. F. Pandolfi has written a realistic visit to the early 1970’s complete with helicopter parents, best friends coming out of the closet, weekly social events and annual salaries that might total current weekly offerings. There are lots of Italian names and food as well as the parochial school in N. Jersey but not much description; a missed opportunity, imho.
Spousal abuse, racism and “the mob” are a few of the social issues briefly addressed in “Mr. Pizza”. There’s no real political sway. I’ve already mentioned that the language is dreadful in places. It’s not non-stop, but enough that it was offensive to me. There are no sexual scenes but there are a few suggestive and lewd comments. The violence is limited to fist fighting and slapping such as you’d find in a school yard.
Despite its rougher attributes, “Mr. Pizza” has a redeeming quality about it. Tony’s ability morph as a teacher and champion his students made this a worthy read.