The Son of A Certain Woman

The Son of A Certain Woman

eBook - 2013
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Here comes Percy Joyce.

From one of Canada's most acclaimed, beloved storytellers: The Son of a Certain Woman is Wayne Johnston's funniest, sexiest novel yet, controversial in its issues, wise, generous and then some in its depiction of humanity.

Percy Joyce, born in St. John's, Newfoundland, in the fifties is an outsider from childhood, set apart by a congenital disfigurement. Taunted and bullied, he is also isolated by his intelligence and wit, and his unique circumstances: an unbaptized boy raised by a single mother in a fiercely Catholic society. Soon on the cusp of teenagehood, Percy is filled with yearning, wild with hormones, and longing for what he can't have--wanting to be let in...and let out. At the top of his wish list is his disturbingly alluring mother, Penelope, whose sex appeal fairly leaps off the page. Everyone in St. John's lusts after her--including her sister-in-law, Medina; their paying boarder, the local chemistry teacher, Pops MacDougal; and...Percy.

Percy, Penelope, and Pops live in the Mount, home of the city's Catholic schools and most of its clerics, none of whom are overly fond of the scandalous Joyces despite the seemingly benign protection of the Archbishop of Newfoundland himself, whose chief goal is to bring "little Percy Joyce" into the bosom of the Church by whatever means necessary. In pursuit of that goal, Brother McHugh, head of Percy's school, sets out to uncover the truth behind what he senses to be the complicated relationships of the Joyce household. And indeed there are dark secrets to be kept hidden: Pops is in love with Penelope, but Penelope and Medina are also in love--an illegal relationship: if caught, they will be sent to the Mental, and Percy, already an outcast of society, will be left without a family.

The Son of a Certain Woman brilliantly mixes sorrow and laughter as it builds toward an unforgettable ending. Will Pops marry Penelope? Will Penelope and Medina be found out? Will Percy be lured into the Church? It is a reminder of the pain of being an outsider; of the sustaining power of love and the destructive power of hate; and of the human will to triumph.

Publisher: New York : Knopf Canada, 2013
ISBN: 9780345807915
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Feb 20, 2016

What the Catholic Church might deem a unholy quartet, this family certainly is dysfunctional. I know he's a teenage boy but the sexual fantasy gets a bit much.

Jun 03, 2015

Not the book I expected. All these people are run by the church. One's a bi-whore who, after the end of the book will probably commit incest. Her lover is illiterate and her living in boarder is manipulated to marry her for money she'll get, but continuing her, as they say, Lizzy ways. If this was suppose to be a comedy, well he missed the mark. And the end is just... well read and see...

According to Baltimore Catechism once a soul is baptized ALL sins are washed away from before the time of baptism so Johnston has that wrong, the big confession scene would never happen. Otherwise the book is well written but puerile, with an orgasmic ending that could only happen in a teenage boy's wet dream.

Jun 07, 2014

A superb bit of writing;
I cried and then laughed till I cried.
A powerful, funny and moving novel.

May 15, 2014

WJ has laid out a criticism of the Roman Catholic church in a novel full of off beat characters. I laughed a lot but in the end felt let down with, what I felt, was a weak ending.

LMOH Apr 19, 2014

Very funny!

Mar 22, 2014

I returned this book before completing 100 pages--what a disappointment from such a fine author.

brianreynolds Oct 22, 2013

In The Son of a Certain Woman, Wayne Johnston takes the reader back to a fear-filled time (and place) when the Catholic Church wielded close to absolute power over its adherents, when deviation from sexual "norms" was a criminal offence. Set in the St. John's of the mid-twentieth century, Son recounts the struggle of a poor, self-educated, single mother against the clergy and the awkward adolescence of her only son in a society that represses him at every turn. It's a marvellously entertaining, entirely intriguing piece of writing from the opening pages up to (but not including) the farcical ending. With elements of both romance (Penelope is as heroic a figure as any western gunslinger in her battle with the church) and comedy (poor Percy's battle to bed or befriend or be normal is as poignant and clumsy as any young man's) the story is saved from amazingness only by an absurd ending that deflates any semblance that the contentious issues under discussion might be serious. The writing is delicious. I still recommend it.

Oct 20, 2013

I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would, considering the theme. It was downright laugh out loud funny in spots. There was plenty of unrequited adolescent hormonal action, justified by the protagonist's disfigurement. It has a strange but logical conclusion, if one supports the idea of personal triumph over religious power. Wayne Johnson is a wonderful writer and this choice of theme is courageous.

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