Chater brings an ear for dialogue and an eye for the absurd to Waiting for the Apocalypse, a tragicomic debut memoir about coming of age in the 1970s in an ultraconservative Catholic family.
It is 1972, in San Jose, California, and 10-year-old Veronica's parents believe that Vatican II has corrupted the Catholic Church. Pitting himself against the Church and modern America, her father quits the highway patrol, sells everything, and moves the family of eight from California to an isolated village near Fatima. But Portugal is no Catholic utopia, and Veronica and her siblings run feral on the streets as their parents pray for a miracle and the family falls into poverty. Forced to return to the Bay Area broke and disappointed, they attend the Latin Mass in truck garages, backyards, and abandoned buildings, and join the Catholic counter-revolution—an underground network of warrior monks trained to think and fight like the Christian crusaders of the twelfth century. As Veronica comes of age on the fringes of the American Dream, she is forbidden to enjoy anything modern—clothes, movies, and music—but learns to think for herself through journal-writing and poetry, and ultimately rebels against a fanaticism that has long since stopped making sense.
Veronica began her writing career at the age of seven on her father's Underwood typewriter in her family's backyard. When it became clear that she would have to finance her career by working, she sought out jobs that promised to supply creative material, among them food waitress, limousine driver, airplane re-fueler, costume seamstress, convenience store cashier (graveyard shift), restaurant prep-cook, door-to-door toothbrush salesperson, criminal background check person, cocktail waitress, lost-luggage handler, housemaid, bartender, size 6 clothes model, carpenter's assistant, African hyena research assistant, theater stagehand, mail delivery person, English language tutor, wedding reception caterer, car mechanic (60's VW's only), landscape gardener, movie extra, clean-room technician, hybrid-artificial pancreas designer (California patent # 2134088), speed typist, editor's assistant, and titillating story-writer for various women's magazines, including a popular national weekly.
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Added by The Booksmith on January 28, 2009