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Growing up in a coal country valley of northeastern Pennsylvania, Patrick Resetar wanted nothing more than a way out of the town that he lived in. As a child, he witnessed, and often experienced, the people in his town battle a multitude of demons, usually in the shape of addiction and abuse. Directly affected by these struggles, he turned to religion to help him find a pa Growing up in a coal country valley of northeastern Pennsylvania, Patrick Resetar wanted nothing more than a way out of the town that he lived in. As a child, he witnessed, and often experienced, the people in his town battle a multitude of demons, usually in the shape of addiction and abuse. Directly affected by these struggles, he turned to religion to help him find a path forward. But instead of hymns and Hail Marys, Patrick’s faith demanded touchdowns and tackles. His devotion was football and his savior was a little brown piece of pigskin. Some people participate in traditional religions like Catholicism or Judaism, while others choose those that are less conventional, such as horse racing or music. But what these faiths all have in common are that people are willing to sacrifice for them, and that they require a monthly tithing of one form or another to participate. Fist-fighting, Catholicism, and Sunday family meals were a few of the ways Patrick and his family practiced their beliefs. While churchgoers donned their best clothes and visited their houses of worship, Patrick and his family sat down for an early meal, skipping the mass and going straight to the pasta. This was their service and their opportunity to repent. Infused with humor, pathos, and hope, this deeply moving memoir chronicles the challenges of what life is like living in a working-class town filled with addiction, abuse, an indestructible connection to its past, and an equally unbreakable hope for the future. Evocative and incisive, They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna examines what it means to believe in something and what it takes to be saved, whether salvation comes in the form of football, Jesus, or a hot plate of lasagna.


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Growing up in a coal country valley of northeastern Pennsylvania, Patrick Resetar wanted nothing more than a way out of the town that he lived in. As a child, he witnessed, and often experienced, the people in his town battle a multitude of demons, usually in the shape of addiction and abuse. Directly affected by these struggles, he turned to religion to help him find a pa Growing up in a coal country valley of northeastern Pennsylvania, Patrick Resetar wanted nothing more than a way out of the town that he lived in. As a child, he witnessed, and often experienced, the people in his town battle a multitude of demons, usually in the shape of addiction and abuse. Directly affected by these struggles, he turned to religion to help him find a path forward. But instead of hymns and Hail Marys, Patrick’s faith demanded touchdowns and tackles. His devotion was football and his savior was a little brown piece of pigskin. Some people participate in traditional religions like Catholicism or Judaism, while others choose those that are less conventional, such as horse racing or music. But what these faiths all have in common are that people are willing to sacrifice for them, and that they require a monthly tithing of one form or another to participate. Fist-fighting, Catholicism, and Sunday family meals were a few of the ways Patrick and his family practiced their beliefs. While churchgoers donned their best clothes and visited their houses of worship, Patrick and his family sat down for an early meal, skipping the mass and going straight to the pasta. This was their service and their opportunity to repent. Infused with humor, pathos, and hope, this deeply moving memoir chronicles the challenges of what life is like living in a working-class town filled with addiction, abuse, an indestructible connection to its past, and an equally unbreakable hope for the future. Evocative and incisive, They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna examines what it means to believe in something and what it takes to be saved, whether salvation comes in the form of football, Jesus, or a hot plate of lasagna.

48 review for They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jackson

    (3.75) In this memoir, Patrick Resetar recounts his boyhood as a (mostly) non-practicing Catholic in coal-country blue collar Pennsylvania, where there's not much to do but fistfight and the streets are lined with churches and dive bars. Often troubled by his parents' bad habits and overcome with a desire to leave town, he finds his faith in football, which serves as both an escape from the difficulties of his home life and a path into his future as an individual. This was a great read. There wer (3.75) In this memoir, Patrick Resetar recounts his boyhood as a (mostly) non-practicing Catholic in coal-country blue collar Pennsylvania, where there's not much to do but fistfight and the streets are lined with churches and dive bars. Often troubled by his parents' bad habits and overcome with a desire to leave town, he finds his faith in football, which serves as both an escape from the difficulties of his home life and a path into his future as an individual. This was a great read. There were lots of laughs, and I was refreshed by Patrick's honesty and his boldness in exploring heavier subject material. It doesn't matter what has happened in their life, reading about strangers is only entertaining when they're also decent writers, and Patrick Resetar certainly has an exceptional writing voice. My only quibble about the writing was that certain things (like football or lasagna) were either too often used as metaphors for faith or they weren’t always used in convincing ways. Other than that, it was quite an enjoyable memoir. (Oh, and I love that Sonic the Hedgehog made an appearance). Thanks to Patrick Resetar and Match Point Publishing for the ARC!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Craig David

    I would be lying if I said I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It definitely wasn't my favorite memoir from the year BUT, it was incredibly well-written and very funny. The ability of Patrick Resestar to tell a story was unreal and loved every second of the parts that mentioned his mom. The book is definitely about the average man and average stories but above average story telling and satirical remarks. I would be lying if I said I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It definitely wasn't my favorite memoir from the year BUT, it was incredibly well-written and very funny. The ability of Patrick Resestar to tell a story was unreal and loved every second of the parts that mentioned his mom. The book is definitely about the average man and average stories but above average story telling and satirical remarks.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cortney Evans

    I found 'They have Jesus, we have Lasagna' by Patrick Resetar to be very entertaining! It was gorgeously written and unapologetically raw. Reading about this family and their dysfunction was hard at times but I think people with a similar upbringing, would find this book to be very relatable. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the wide range of emotions that it evoked. Definitely recommend. I would like to thank Netgalley and Match Point Publishing for the opportunity to read an advance I found 'They have Jesus, we have Lasagna' by Patrick Resetar to be very entertaining! It was gorgeously written and unapologetically raw. Reading about this family and their dysfunction was hard at times but I think people with a similar upbringing, would find this book to be very relatable. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the wide range of emotions that it evoked. Definitely recommend. I would like to thank Netgalley and Match Point Publishing for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jill Reads

    "They Have Jesus" is both laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreaking. But if anyone can rise through the ashes like a Phoenix, it's Patrick Resetar. In his debut memoir, Patrick reveals snippets of his life growing up in a coal-mining town. While Catholics attend church, the Resetar family attends Sunday dinners. And have major squabbles over plates of pasta. Mrs. Resetar, Patrick's mother, is a true character. A "second-generation Catholic," she loves cigarettes, swear words, scratch-off tickets a "They Have Jesus" is both laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreaking. But if anyone can rise through the ashes like a Phoenix, it's Patrick Resetar. In his debut memoir, Patrick reveals snippets of his life growing up in a coal-mining town. While Catholics attend church, the Resetar family attends Sunday dinners. And have major squabbles over plates of pasta. Mrs. Resetar, Patrick's mother, is a true character. A "second-generation Catholic," she loves cigarettes, swear words, scratch-off tickets and Sega Genesis. "Her secret power was calling people on their bullshit." The dinner-table dialogue involving his mom is the hands-down the best part of the book. Case in point: -- "What are you giving up for Lent?" my mother asked [his sister] Rachel one year. "Who wants to know?" Rachel snapped back. "Maybe give up that attitude. God knows we can all use a break." "You're being an ass. I'm not even being bad! You're the one with the bad attitude. Why don't you give up scratch-off tickets?" Rachel taunted my mother. "You watch your mouth. I don't have a ticket problem," my mother falsely denied.have fooled me. You were scratching the air in your sleep," my sister said. "I saw it. You looked like Daniel-sun, painting the fence," my brother said, referring to the decade-old movie The Karate Kid. "Maybe you should give up sleeping in this house if you keep it up," my mother rebutted. -- Besides Patrick's immediate family, we meet average, small town people. All have one or more obsessions: religion, alcohol and sports. And Patrick's deepest fear is that he will end up like them. Especially his father who is an abusive alcoholic. Readers will wince as Patrick and his mother experience physical and phycological abuse. And belly laugh at the hilarious familial dysfunction and satirical back-and-forth banter. As you can imagine, Patrick wants nothing more than to escape the chaos. Thankfully, sports save him. (Not God). Baseball was his first love, the racetrack was his first home and football was his first religion. I read an advanced copy my NetGalley app, and found myself snapping screenshots to come back to later. This is a book I will want to own and gift to my friends. (The ones who don't take themselves so seriously and don't mind a few curse words).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    5/5. Loved this book. I was expecting a memoir along the lines of “Hillbilly Elegy” but instead found something better — a book that was raw, acerbically funny, insightful, and didn’t feel so preachy. I lost count of the times I laughed out loud, and marveled at the way the author interspersed truly hilarious moments between some dark times that would’ve crushed others. Ultimately I found the book uplifting, particularly with the message that when one door closes, another one opens. I also commen 5/5. Loved this book. I was expecting a memoir along the lines of “Hillbilly Elegy” but instead found something better — a book that was raw, acerbically funny, insightful, and didn’t feel so preachy. I lost count of the times I laughed out loud, and marveled at the way the author interspersed truly hilarious moments between some dark times that would’ve crushed others. Ultimately I found the book uplifting, particularly with the message that when one door closes, another one opens. I also commend the universal application of the book’s other messages & themes. One does not have to grow up in coal country to understand the crippling effects of addiction or crushing disappointment of working hard for a promised reward, only to find out there was no reward after all. Whether it’s football or the American Dream (or anything in between), we can all relate. I liked the writing style, and was even more impressed in reading the final chapter and learning that this memoir was something of a confession — a processing of complex emotions and thoughts previously unexamined, or at least unexpressed. This book, therefore, is a living embodiment of the fascinating psychological process of navigating, and ultimately understanding & accepting, our internal lives. It’s a brave thing, baring one’s soul to the world, and this author did so with aplomb. My only regret is that the book ended so soon and we didn’t get to read about later events in the author’s life — perhaps a sequel is in order?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Donna Boyd

    Thank you to #NetGalley, Patrick Resetar and Match Point Publishing for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my review. They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna is a memoir about growing up in a high spirited, dysfunctional Catholic family of seven living in a small duplex in Pennsylvania coal country. Resetar is a gifted storyteller and it is a well written book. His stories made me laugh out loud in some parts and brought me to tears in others. How do you Thank you to #NetGalley, Patrick Resetar and Match Point Publishing for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my review. They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna is a memoir about growing up in a high spirited, dysfunctional Catholic family of seven living in a small duplex in Pennsylvania coal country. Resetar is a gifted storyteller and it is a well written book. His stories made me laugh out loud in some parts and brought me to tears in others. How do you deal with a mother who calls you obscene names and tells your father that she will gut him like a fish and in the next minute spends hours with you in the backyard patiently teaching you to play baseball. Or a father who sets fire to a video game you got for your birthday because your mother won't stop playing it. His story about going to the racetrack when he was five and not stopping until he lost his high school graduation money is hilarious but takes on a sadder note when he talks about buying beer there for his uncle and his friends when he was only eight. It is a book filled with humor but full of deep sadness and I can only imagine what it was like for Resetar and his siblings in that house biding time until they could escape. As Resetar says "sometimes you just need something bigger than yourself to believe in" and sometimes it is Jesus and sometimes it could be a horse at a race track, or a big dish of lasagna. In Resetar's case, he had football and he had lasagna. This was an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...

    They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna is at once funny and sad. This is Resetar's debut, a memoir about his childhood in coal country. This is the story of the joy and the dysfunction of one family. The author takes us to the dinner table and lets us listen in as the family argues. His mother is probably the most unique and real. She smokes like a fiend, talks with deep irritation and loads of sarcasm, spends her extra dollars on scratch-off lottery tickets, plays video games, and enjoys calling out They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna is at once funny and sad. This is Resetar's debut, a memoir about his childhood in coal country. This is the story of the joy and the dysfunction of one family. The author takes us to the dinner table and lets us listen in as the family argues. His mother is probably the most unique and real. She smokes like a fiend, talks with deep irritation and loads of sarcasm, spends her extra dollars on scratch-off lottery tickets, plays video games, and enjoys calling out others for their hypocrisy. It is her Sunday dinners that brings this raucous family together. This is the book about the working class, small-towns, religion, and more. The author's greatest fear seems to have been that he would grow up to be exactly like all o them. That his feet will be stuck in the mud and he will never leave. The harsh reality though is that he and his family were subjected to abuse by his alcoholic father. It is filled with triggers. It is hard, difficult and depressing. Because of that I appreciated the author's liberal use of humor as it lightened the tale.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christine (Queen of Books)

    Thank you to Match Point Publishing for a free arc of this title for review. They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna was an interesting memoir of a young man's coming of age in Pennsylvania "coal country." Trauma, in particular, is on display: Abuse, addiction, and struggle feature throughout these pages. Based on the title, I figured I might relate to this one. But I was still surprised when the author talked about his parents responding to his misbehavior by threatening to send him to St. Michael's - t Thank you to Match Point Publishing for a free arc of this title for review. They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna was an interesting memoir of a young man's coming of age in Pennsylvania "coal country." Trauma, in particular, is on display: Abuse, addiction, and struggle feature throughout these pages. Based on the title, I figured I might relate to this one. But I was still surprised when the author talked about his parents responding to his misbehavior by threatening to send him to St. Michael's - that was a thing in our household too. (I also related to the deep desire to "get out" of one's hometown after high school.) The author's reflections on masculinity, emotion, and communication made the book feel like all readers could get something out of it, whether they had similar lived experiences or not (maybe even more so if they didn't).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna is a rollercoaster of a memoir by Patrick Resetar. The author is a great raconteur who manages to skillfully trick us into laughter,followed quickly by tears. The book is a memoir of growing up in a poor coal mining town in Pennsylvania. His family is inconsistently Catholic and often dysfunctional. His father struggles with alcoholism and there could be triggers for a reader who experienced that, coupled with abuse. The author wrapped up these stories of his cra They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna is a rollercoaster of a memoir by Patrick Resetar. The author is a great raconteur who manages to skillfully trick us into laughter,followed quickly by tears. The book is a memoir of growing up in a poor coal mining town in Pennsylvania. His family is inconsistently Catholic and often dysfunctional. His father struggles with alcoholism and there could be triggers for a reader who experienced that, coupled with abuse. The author wrapped up these stories of his crazy childhood with insights and reflections that show he is healing. It was comforting to come to some resolutions at the end and to reflect on lessons learned, despite the hardship. Thank you to the author, the publisher and to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    paiges_prologue

    I love memoirs because when done well, they transport you into the shoes of the voices who lived these words. . . . Told from some of the most formidable years in life, Patrick navigates his world in coal country Pennsylvania. Salvation comes in many versions through football, alcohol, music, organized religion, abuse, and many more examples that are explored in this insightful working-class town. If you enjoyed “The Glass Castle” or “Hillbilly Elegy” and learning about the intimate lives of those I love memoirs because when done well, they transport you into the shoes of the voices who lived these words. . . . Told from some of the most formidable years in life, Patrick navigates his world in coal country Pennsylvania. Salvation comes in many versions through football, alcohol, music, organized religion, abuse, and many more examples that are explored in this insightful working-class town. If you enjoyed “The Glass Castle” or “Hillbilly Elegy” and learning about the intimate lives of those struggling to find hope in a world filled with predisposed chaos, this is for you. Hilarious, heartbreaking, and honest is how I would describe this read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne | read.gram.repeat

    Thank you Match Point Publishing for sending me They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna. It’s a memoir about growing up in the “coal country valley of northeastern Pennsylvania” where I spent most of my life! Anyone from a small town with a complicated relationship to religion or who grew up with a chaotic family can relate to this book. My home environment was very different from Resetar’s, but I lived in the same area full of bars and churches yearning to “get out” someday. Also, I have to mention th Thank you Match Point Publishing for sending me They Have Jesus, We Have Lasagna. It’s a memoir about growing up in the “coal country valley of northeastern Pennsylvania” where I spent most of my life! Anyone from a small town with a complicated relationship to religion or who grew up with a chaotic family can relate to this book. My home environment was very different from Resetar’s, but I lived in the same area full of bars and churches yearning to “get out” someday. Also, I have to mention there’s a chapter about Kandy Kakes!🤤(iykyk) Congrats on your success Patrick and thanks for sharing your story! CW: Alcoholism, abuse

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mohammadhaseenahmed

    A saga of a tryst with destiny and destitution and finding a way forward to having a meaningful life amidst all the oddities that our life throws on us.An intriguing piece with lots of twists and turns ...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    wonderfully written. smart. humorous. capturing a place and time of Resetar's life with clarity and thoughtful reflection. i like his mother very much - she is real and she is tough. two qualities i admire in any woman. Resetar paints a vivid imagery. very very enjoyable read. wonderfully written. smart. humorous. capturing a place and time of Resetar's life with clarity and thoughtful reflection. i like his mother very much - she is real and she is tough. two qualities i admire in any woman. Resetar paints a vivid imagery. very very enjoyable read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    Wish I could have liked this. Not for me. Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I enjoy memoirs about people I’ve never met and never heard of. And this memoir by Patrick Resetar is a good one. Patrick is 9 years younger than me, and grew up in a working class family living in coal country, PA. His story is witty and wry, but speaks deeply about growing up with the trauma of an Alcoholic father, a depressed mother and the struggle to get out and do more with his life. I enjoyed this one thoroughly. Thank you, Matchpoint Publishing for an advanced readers copy in exchange for I enjoy memoirs about people I’ve never met and never heard of. And this memoir by Patrick Resetar is a good one. Patrick is 9 years younger than me, and grew up in a working class family living in coal country, PA. His story is witty and wry, but speaks deeply about growing up with the trauma of an Alcoholic father, a depressed mother and the struggle to get out and do more with his life. I enjoyed this one thoroughly. Thank you, Matchpoint Publishing for an advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  17. 5 out of 5

    booknerdkat

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten is tired

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Jessen

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shantel

  22. 4 out of 5

    A. Buckmaster

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Wallace

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Maki

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill Schlott

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kara Lauren

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liz Miller

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Cutler

  30. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  31. 5 out of 5

    Lorna Pérez

  32. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Peterson

  33. 4 out of 5

    Shahed

  34. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  35. 4 out of 5

    Nucleah

  36. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Gerhart

  37. 5 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

  38. 5 out of 5

    Scott L. Frost

  39. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

  40. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Burns

  41. 4 out of 5

    Melisa Dowling

  42. 5 out of 5

    lou brown

  43. 4 out of 5

    amy

  44. 5 out of 5

    Steff

  45. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Tilton

  46. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

  47. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  48. 4 out of 5

    Pat

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