A new life in America
Tony Romano captures the values and characteristics of a 1950s Italian neighborhood and immigrant family in his first novel When the World Was Young.
Angela Rosa and Agostino Peccatori's life on Chicago's Superior Street in 1957 revolves around their five children, Agostino's job at the family-owned local tavern, and the neighborhood Catholic Church. When two year old Benito succumbs to a high fever, the family falls apart as each member tries to cope with this tragedy in different ways.
Benito's death has ramifications that will affect the family throughout the rest of the novel. Santo, the oldest son, becomes increasingly aware of his father's infidelity; his sister Victoria flirts with truancy and becomes involved with local bad boy Eddie Milano while their mother blames herself for Benito's death.
When Santo discovers a half-brother unknown to the rest of the family, the result is an estrangement from his father which continues for many years. Family secrets are also revealed when Angela Rosa, her sister and Victoria travel back to Italy two years after Benito's death.
Tony Romano, a Chicago area short story author and teacher, has created an engaging novel of changing times and mores.