The O'Connell Boy: Educating The Wolf Child is a vivid
coming-of-age memoir that tells graphically of the author's "wolf
child" youth in a group home with five other boys from broken
homes. The home is operated by a very strict "lace curtain" Irish
Catholic widow who could have functioned as a U.S. Marine Corps
drill sergeant. Mrs. White is a perfectionist disciplinarian with a
middle class lifestyle in an extremely Irish Boston suburb. After
release from the group home at age 14 he spends his high school
years with lackadaisical Irish Granny O'Connell on "the other side
of the tracks" next to a railroad station in the blighted section
of another Boston suburb. In a caddie shack at a nearby golf course
he is exposed to tales of sexual prowess and extreme initiation
rituals. He experiences nearly unlimited freedom. With wit and
irony, O'Connell uses candid dialogue and descriptions to tell his
unusual story of highly disciplined group home life and his later
freedom to engage in an ongoing "battle of wits" with his aging
grandmother. This memoir delivers a trip back in time to the 1930s
and 1940s, touches on an orphan's feelings of abandonment, and
provides scenes of "growing up" that range from the outrageous to
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