Book Review: “Never Hug A Nun” by Kevin Killeen

When was the last time you spat spitballs, ducked under an arc of streaming pee, or got locked in “Jail” at the elementary school carnival? When was the last time you robbed a thrift store? Jumped in front of a train? Jumped ON a train? Lobbed rocks at fresh-off-the-assembly-line cars?

Well, guess what, kiddos. Patrick Cantwell, at the tender young age of nine, is way ahead of you. As the star of the latest Blank Slate Press release, young Patrick embodies the delightful innocence and childhood as much as he does the dangers of temptation and the promises of a good Catholic heaven. If you want to remember what it’s like to be a kid (whether you went to a Catholic school, flush with tassels and plaid and not-to-be-hugged nuns, or not) then there is no better book to pick up than this one. NEVER HUG A NUN is a comedic look at a year in the life of young Patrick, whose goals in life are simple: 1) Make Ebby Hamilton love him; 2) Help his older brother John someday become a Beatle; and 3) Stay perpetually in trouble, so that he will always feel a special bond of closeness with his father. To achieve these three simple aims, Patrick finds himself in all sorts of mischief, including but not limited to the aforementioned acts.

A hilarious and wry look at childhood from the desk of an author who clearly never forgot what it’s like to be a child, Kevin Killeen’s debut novel is a definite winner.