What's in a name? For Carl Capotorto, everything is in a name. The literal translation from Italian to English of Capotorto is "e;twisted head."e; This is no accident. Carl grew up in the Bronx in the 1960s and 70s with the Mangialardis ("e;eat fat"e;) and Mrs. Sabella ("e;so beautiful"e;), incessant fryers and a dolled-up glamour queen. Carl's father, Philip Vito Capotorto, was the obsessive, tyrannical head of the family--"e;I'm not your friend, I'm the father"e; was a common refrain in their household. The father ran Cappi's Pizza and Sangwheech Shoppe, whose motto was "e;We Don't Spel Good, Just Cook Nice."e; It was a time of great upheaval in the Bronx, and Carl's father was right in the middle of it, if not the cause of it, much to the chagrin of his long-suffering mother.Twisted Head is the comedic story of a hardscrabble, working-class family's life that represents the real legacy of Italian-Americans--labor, not crime. It is also the poignant memoir of the author's struggle to become himself in a world that demanded he act like someone else. Tragic and funny in equal measure, Carl's story is propelled by a cast of only-in-New-York characters: customers at the family pizza shop, public school teachers, nuns and priests at church, shop owners and merchants--all wildly entertaining and sometimes frightening. Somewhere in all the rage and madness that surrounded Carl in his youth, he found the bottom line: he loved his family, but he had to let them go. Twisted Head is an exorcism of sorts. With plenty of laughs.
An Italian American Memoir