The Constant Outsider

Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
366 Pages
Reviewed on 11/27/2013
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Author Biography

Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1952, Thomas Cirignano moved to South Boston as a young man. He took over his father's auto repair business in the heart of "Southie." His decades running that shop would be described as surreal by most people's standards. Through pure luck, he survived numerous life threatening situations. In 1987, Tom decided the time was right to sell the business and relocate to Florida, where he spent the next eleven years. In 1998 he and his family returned to Massachusetts.
Thomas Cirignano has been a contributing writer and also served as an advisory member on The New Bedford Standard-Times Editorial Board. He served two terms on The Freetown-Lakeville Regional School Committee, and has served on several other town committees and commissions. He is a certified scuba diver, ultra-light aircraft pilot, has owned several motorcycles, and loves boating. A previous spinal fracture, Scoliosis, and Harrington Rod surgery now limit his ability to enjoy most of those activities.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Author Thomas M. Cirignano grew up in the area around Dorchester and South Boston in the '50s. In his book, The Constant Outsider: Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic, he describes living in the urban area. The author shares his life experiences, making this reviewer wonder how he survived to tell his memoirs. I often found myself laughing one moment and dismayed the next. The author is from an Italian family growing up in a predominantly Irish neighborhood. Thomas M. Cirignano was constantly trying to astound the kids in the neighborhood. There wasn’t much he wouldn’t try and that continued into his adulthood. Yet there is little doubt that Thomas M. Cirignano is a caring and decent guy deep inside. The area was full of drugs, mob violence, and killings. The family operated a gas station and auto repair business; later in life Tom took over and ran the business himself.

The Constant Outsider was difficult to lay down. Thomas M. Cirignano writes in an easy-to-read and understanding manner without ever losing his focus and his work has high energy and a sense of adventure. While I’ve never been to the South Boston area, I could easily see it through the author’s eyes. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. The plot grows more intense. Although filled with true-life violence, there are also life lessons. Thomas M. Cirignano may be an auto mechanic by trade but his book will leave little doubt that he is also a talented writer.