Reviews | Charley Heenan

Reviews for Danny’s Boys

“This book delves into the wider impact of what happens when a priest abuses a child – it looks at the politics, the power and the community around organized religion and how this responds when a person in a position of power abuses that role and harms someone. The reaction are fascinating. The deep indoctrination of the members of the church is highlighted and the sense of loss which is felt by those who accept the truth is captured clearly. It was interesting to see the desperate search by many of the characters for something to replace Catholicism. The book is written from the perspective of a young man and his friends and this, too, is compelling. With plain language and no melodrama, the author represents their reactions with realism and honesty. While I found the writing style a bit basic, the author has done a great job in adding layers of perspective and analysis to an unfortunately all too common story of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.”

– Louise Gray, NetGalley

5 stars. “For those of us of a certain age, who grew up at a time when the parish was your identity, this book will ring true. Irish Catholic parish with intense loyalty to the parish and the priest. An act of pedophilia, but Heenan explores not the act/accusation, but the reactions of the parishioners and the ramifications for all, but particularly so for a tight knit group of 20 something year old boys. An easy read…”

– Gina Malanga, NetGalley

“Danny’s Boys is the story of a group of young adults who traverse the cost of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The author does a great job highlighting the dynamics that can occur in a parish when a priest is accused of abuse as well as highlighting the power a priest can wield. I struggled a bit with the idea that in current times a group of hard-drinking college aged men would be such observant Catholics–it might have been an easier sell if the story had been set earlier. The setting in Philadelphia works well and the author gives the reader a real sense of the Catholic community and the place of church and CYO sports in that community. The author’s writing style is very straightforward without a lot of fluff or descriptors. All in all a good read about an important topic.”

– Stephanie Fielder, NetGalley

“Danny’s Boys joins a handful of novels addressing abuse of boys by priests. It is well written and readable, possibly triggering to those with personal experience of this tragedy. Its particular virtue lies in the author’s intimate knowledge of the neighborhood portrayed and his experience as a student at Catholic schools. Recommended with trigger warning.”

– Maggie Rotter (Educator), NetGalley

5 stars. “This is a very well written, gut wrenching and engaging story of the victims of clergy sexual abuse.As a product of 12 years of Catholic education this was a very engaging and informative to me.It is narrated by Tommy Dunleavy and it tells the story of his friends and their reaction when the younger brother of one of his best friends commits suicide inside a church with crosses carved into his arms.Everyone in the parish is shocked and wonders why Jack killed himself.When the guys realize that Jack has filed a sexual abuse claim against their pastor Father Farrell, they are all shocked.Each of the group deals with a range of emotions from sadness to anger to disbelief.Read the book to find out what happens when the priest is cleared.Highly recommend!”

– Mary Cummins, NetGalley