Patron saints, headlocks, thrash metal, crash diets, dogpiles, nutpulls and only the occasional assault.
Set in Little Falls, New Jersey in 1993, PINS weaves the classic story of a Catholic saint into a compelling modern life - and near-death - account of Joey Nicci, a fifteen-year-old Italian-American wrestler. After befriending Donald "Dink" Kohrs, Joey and his new posse get involved in pranks and partying that eventually get out of control, resulting in the death of a maligned fellow teammate.
The ensuing legal battle and media frenzy alter Joey's life and his self-perception as a gay teenager while shattering his fragile love for fellow teammate Dink. Like his patron saint, his battle against his own teammates forces him to suffer for his beliefs. His survival becomes a literary miracle. A compelling story of a loving yet confused family, coaches and teachers struggling with multiple issues of violence and homophobia amid the clan-like world of teenage athletes, PINS brings together elements now frighteningly common in the media: bullying jocks, assaults on weaker students, faculty and families unwittingly allowing such behavior.
Called "prescient" and "heartfelt" by two of today's leading writers, PINS layers symbols from the worlds of animals and religion, yet while achieving a unique literary style, it remains accessible to the group for whom it speaks - gay teenagers.
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PINS Has Me in a Firm Chokehold!
Have you ever discovered something that is so wonderful and then wondered why you had never encountered that thing before? Both Jim Provenzano (author) and Paul Fleschner (narrator) are now such new discoveries for me. I can only thank Audible for this ideal double-discovery. As I listened --always while dog-walking in August--I am sure that my jaw was slack as I heard the marvelous turning of phrases by the author. Mr. Provenzano has himself wrestled for 14 years, and it shows in his details. He obviously lived the life of a high school wrestler. But his writing...so expressive! Often, I would press pause to savor a sentence or thought. (My dogs grew bored with this as we all stopped to either think, feel, or sniff.) Also, Paul Fleschner's reading is spot-on. It is hard to believe that he is the same person who is capturing all the high school boys, their coaches, parents, and family members--both boys and girls. Every word is spoken with intentional purpose.
Favorite character? I want to say the story's protagonist, Joseph, is my favorite. Being a gay adolescent is so tough--I know all too well--but hearing Joeseph make the same discoveries I had made brought back emotions to me I long tucked away since I was his age.
I think it must be Joseph's dad, Dino. To me, he is the voice of reason which grounds all of the other characters. Mr. Fleschner makes the most of his resonant voice to capture Dino's love for his son.
I cannot improve upon PINS. It is meaningful to this story on so many levels.
As I write this review, I have about 90 minutes left of the story. This, in dog-walks, is about two. I am already mourning the loss of Joseph and Dink in my life, so I am ready to move onto other books by Mr. Provenzano. My request to Jim is this: PLEASE, "I would get my on knees, but that might be overkill" (taken and paraphrased from the book), PLEASE ask Paul Fleschner to read more for you.
- Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
Worth your time