Lou Macaluso welcomes you!: loumacaluso@gmail.com,

Books

51seqkZ6XYL._AA160_BUYNOWCARTClown Town is true story/social Chicago history of a baby boomer’s struggle with death phobia filtered through a child’s perspective. The title refers to an imaginary world created by the young protagonist, Pudgie, to pacify his younger friend’s curiosity about the real world of school. Pudgie’s real world, however, is a horrific world of indignity, humiliation, anger, and fear. Clown Town is a utopian world of fantasy for young boys growing up in a Chicago suburb during the 1950s. The Prologue establishes the adult first-person narrator in the present tense. He is forced to reminisce about his youth when the eminent death of his mother rekindles old fears and personality quirks that had haunted his life. His journey backward leads the reader to the death of a neighborhood man, the death of Pudgie’s grandfather, and the death of a schoolmate in a historic Chicago school fire of 1958. Pudgie also struggles with a volatile temper when teased about his crossed left eye. The temper threatens his existence in a “normal” school. Along the way, the narrative treats the reader to a nostalgic look at the 1950s (the music, the cars, the TV shows, the movies, the mores), a naïve child’s interpretation of sex, and an adult perspective of childhood adventures such as smoking, competing in sports, and participating in petty crime.

 

“What a great read – for those that lived during this time, you’ll understand why growing up in a midwestern town gave us the framework of who we are.” S. Ross

 

“A fun book! Brought back a lot of my childhood! Lou is a very descriptive Author. I’m looking forward to his next book!” – Carol Z.

 

“When I first heard of this book, I ordered it instantly, having grown up close enough to the author to have known virtually all of the places he mentions, if not necessarily the people. Then I thought, the premise sounds too good to be true. The real book can’t possbily be as good as it sounds. But I needn’t have worried. There are plenty of specfic place references to satisfy any would-be historian of the area. But Clown Town is much more than that. It is a very moving story of love, fear, guilt and loss, set in the context of the tragic and still remembered December 1958 school fire that claimed nearly 100 lives, and the famed plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Big Bopper. I tried to make it last all weekend, but I just couldn’t put it down, and finished it in a few hours. Even the cover illustration perfectly evokes the author’s immediate neighborhood (which was always a bit mysterious to me). I could go on forever praising this book. You don’t have to have grown up less than a mile away from the author to like, but it helps.” -Red

 

“Lou Macaluso has managed to capture the dichotomy between the ease of growing up in the simpler times of the 1950s, and the emotional turmoil of buried feelings that era promoted. This story pulls you into another time and place immediately – the vibrant culture of a Chicago neighborhood, which we experience through the fun-loving and mischeivous young Pudgie. The child’s antics, observations, and interactions with rich and rewarding characters made me laugh, cry and wonder. Mingled with the innocent (and sometimes not so innocent) capers, the author did a sensational job of tackling serious issues as well. As a series of deaths innundate Pudgie’s world, we learn of the boy’s growing phobia and quest to figure out what death means to him. Coupled with Pudgie’s insecurites and about a lazy eye, which lead to some serious questions about his own character, these issues make a rich plot that provides plenty of opportunity for introspection for the reader. But make no mistake – this book is fun! It takes you back in time to wild rides in ’57 chevy convertibles, playing detective in backyards, and croons from Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. The writing is wonderful – very straightforward and sharp. This is a quick read because you will want to stay in one spot until you finish it. I will definitely be recommending it to my friends and family.” D. W.