Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Culture Notes: "The Strength of a Sparrow”

UPDATE 3/1/2012: Tim "Dr. Hope" Anders' book about his mother's relationship with a Catholic priest has now been reissued under the title Everybody Calls My Father, Father.

Review of Tim "Dr. Hope" Anders' book based on the lives of his parents -- his mother, a Broadway actress, and his father, a Catholic priest. Anders, who is better known as an award winning author of children's books and a world class poker player, vowed that he would one day tell the story that his mother had wanted to write but never did. -- RG

by Russ Long
November 5, 2008

In 1946, Father Hughie Hewitt of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Manhattan, N.Y., met a beautiful young woman in the bar of Vincent Rao’s Italian Restaurant. The owner introduced his steady customer and friend, who had a love for Dewar’s White Label scotch, to cherry-Coke-sipping auburn-haired stage director Bouvette Sherwood.

"The Strength of a Sparrow” (Alpine Publishing, $16.95) is based on a true story and told by Tim "Dr. Hope” Anders. He states, "Perhaps this story should not be told. Perhaps some things are better left unsaid. But I ache to tell this story of the strength and passion of a remarkable woman.”

The narrative tells of a priest falling in love and fathering two children. His affaire d’amoure is found out by Monsignor Smith, whose ambition to become a bishop causes him to hide the priest’s sin against the church by separating the family.

He allows Hewitt to remain a priest in a minor parish, only if he quits drinking and swears never to contact his family again. Complications arise when the monsignor fails to keep his promise to adequately support Sherwood and the two children, Roxane and Timmy. When she loses legal possession of the children, because she is drastically overworked, a private eye, Pete Dunn, who has been hired as a spy by the monsignor, and her appointed attorney, Harry MacMillan, come to her assistance as her mother arrives from California.

The author says this book is based on his parents, who did not write of it for fear of repercussions and embarrassment it would cause the innocent. Anders, an award-winning children’s book author, credits his mother’s optimistic attitude as inspiration for his "Life Lessons” series. This moving story is well worth reading.

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