I loved the novel The Godfather. I mean I really really loved it. The violence, the sex, the crime, the hate, the hardship, all of it. This novel took the gritty realism of 19th Century American literature to the extreme, and I was a sucker for every sordid detail. The Godfather was my favorite book until I met the work of Octavia E. Butler and Wild Seed ousted it quite handily. And while I recognize there are people in the world who don’t love Octavia Butler’s work, I don’t understand them.
I do, however, understand not loving Mario Puzo’s work, despite the fact that I think The Godfather is a piece of brilliance. Never mind. I take it back. I also don’t understand not loving The Godfather.
High school me read the book over and over, and if my Kindle backlog weren’t literally in the thousands, I would consider picking it up and reading it again. Despite the backlog, I just might.
So I promised you a list of lessons I learned from my high school reading catalogue, but I don’t have a list from The Godfather. I really just have one lesson: people do the best they can with what they have. Sometimes it’s beautiful; sometimes it’s horrifying; and sometimes, when the prose takes you inside worlds you never dreamed existed right alongside your own banal existence, it’s both.
Bravo, Mr. Puzo. Bravo.