Author’s Debut Novel Takes Flight


The image of the quintessential, all-American childhood is one of delight and purity, of innocence and bliss, untainted by the tragic mundane monotony of adulthood. In the coming-of-age novel Anthony Himself, author Lou Persichetti delivers a stunning semi-memoir of a young boy named Anthony who grapples with the transition from elementary to junior high school. Riddled with the light, heartfelt humor from the voice of a young boy exploring his first crush, the novel is a window into the world that we all now crave but detested at the time: childhood.

“The novel is geared towards kids in 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade,” says Persichetti. “It’s about the themes of childhood innocence, but also of changing into adulthood.”

While Anthony’s crush on his peer is the driving force of the novel- bringing many clever quips and comical bits with it- the story is also laced with many serious undertones. Throughout the book, Anthony is concerned for his mother as she seems unwell, is crying frequently, and attending covert, hushed-up appointments. Anthony must embark upon the saga of junior high accompanied by a raging crush and his unresolved confusion for his mother’s situation. He, himself, must navigate the journey and learn to explore his feelings and emotions as well has how they translate to adulthood.

Anthony is not in solitude. Everyone has experienced some version of trauma, loss, or instability as a child, including Lou Persichetti.

“Everyone is innocent as a kid, and then something always happens,” says Persichetti, referring to his own experiences with his mother. “When you read the story, you can relate to it.”

Persichetti grew up in Bristol, Pennsylvania. He attended Bristol Borough High School and graduated in 1998. He then matriculated at Kutztown University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2002. Now, Persichetti is a fourth-grade teacher for the Bristol Borough School District.

Balancing moving houses, teaching a class of ecstatic fourth graders, and raising two young children is no simple task. Supplementing this already packed schedule with dedicating hours of countless effort to publish a novel is ambitious, but Persichetti managed to construct his castle in the sky.

“I always had a dream of writing a book,” says Persichetti. “I just never got around to sitting down and writing one.”

In most cases, the content of the book is the only distinguishing component, the wow-factor which draws people to read it. But in this scenario, the context of the book is important as well. Because despite the ubiquitous appeal for inclusion, equity, and acceptance, society still condemns men for expressing emotion or feelings.

“I was vulnerable in this book,” says Persichetti. “Putting myself out there was scary because people would know so much about my life, about my feelings, and about me. I wanted to show that being vulnerable is okay, despite being a man.”

Persichetti shatters the stereotype through his intrepid writing, inspiring kids to, as cliché as it sounds, follow their dreams in the process.

“People don’t know you until they know you,” he says. “They don’t know what you are capable of. And that’s what I told my students, and the rest of my school too,” says Persichetti.

The book, which was published in August 2021, will be followed by a sequel to be released, tentatively, by the end of 2022.

“I never realized the contents of a book could help someone,” says Persichetti of Anthony, Himself.

The resonating themes of Anthony, Himself, delineated through the experiences of the titular character, Anthony, depict the journey growing up, growing out into the world, and growing into oneself. Because as simple and transparent as childhood is perceived, we are never truly free of the conflicting curse of humanity. We are bestowed with the blessing of emotion but burdened with it as well. Anthony, Himself synopsizes this dual perspective through a charming tale of realization and adolescence.