Tempting Faith DiNapoli


293 pages
ISBN 0-385-65821-4
DDC C813'.6





Reviewed by Britta Santowski

Britta Santowski is a freelance writer in Victoria.


Tempting Faith DiNapoli is an outstanding coming-of-age story that will
hold special meaning for mothers who have lived through the
angst-wrought years of a daughter’s puberty, and for daughters who
have since recovered from the mental instability accompanying the
onslaught of puberty.

Throughout the novel, Faith struggles with the conflict between the
Catholic duty of doing good and the teenage pursuit of feeling good.
Seeking acceptance, she lies, cheats, steals, drinks, and commits
adultery. Faith oscillates between self-loathing and hating the world
around her. Her sister Hope and brothers Matthew and Charlie give her
more targets to loathe, as siblings are wont to do. Further, using the
pretext of understanding the chaos that infuses the DiNapoli family as
justification, Faith covertly reads her mother’s diaries.

The cast of characters includes the traditional Italian father, Joe,
whose thick accent prevents him from pronouncing the names of his own
children (Faith, Hope, and Matthew become Fate, Ope, and Matte-ew), and
the mother, Canadian-ensconced Nancy, who struggles with both motherhood
and the isolation that accompanies feminine individuality. The maternal
side of the family includes Aunt Linda, who keeps Nancy’s identity as
a woman in focus, and Grampa Franco, the strict father of Nancy and
Linda. Other influences reaching into the pulse of the family include
the very neighborly Adam (too old for Faith, too young for Nancy, and
touched by both), the daring Serena (every mother’s worst fear for her
daughter), and Matthew’s girlfriend Trelly (an immature teenager
doomed to premature motherhood).

This debut novel is an invigorating read, and a notable arrival into
the genre of female coming-of-age novels.


Gabriele, Lisa., “Tempting Faith DiNapoli,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/9794.