So apparently this is not supposed to be a “good book”- I guess that makes me a little contrary- because I loved it. What’s strange for me is that I very rarely like books where I have seen the movie first, but I it was a testament to how good it is that it lived up to such a perfect movie. For me, this was an amazing chance to relive and re-experience one of my favourite stories as if it were new.
Because ultimately this is different and yet the same as the movies. Brimming with anti-heroes and dodgy characters, the rich cast is well drawn and complex. The Godfather himself is compelling and powerful in every sense of the word, with his enigmatic catchphrase “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse”. He rules with love, fear and the quiet, dangerous force of a Sicilian. And like Godfather: Part 2, this includes Vito’s story- which if you know the films, you’ll be aware is one of the most heart-breaking and yet striking rises to power imaginable.
The theme of Michael becoming his father is still present. In many ways, Michael is his father all over again- just like in film. In fact, the portrayal is so similar that the mention of the Corleone stare gave me heart palpitations in recollection of Pacino’s performance. The only difference I can think of is that in many ways by the end of Godfather Part 2, you get the sense that Michael isn’t just his father reincarnated, he is his father 2.0- a subtle difference, but here the similarities win out, whereas in the film, you get the sense that Michael is crossing lines his father never would.
Woven into the plot is also the knowledge of the Italian Mafia. You get the sense of the rapier of Sicilian subtlety, the secrecy of this society and most interestingly of all the thunderbolt Michael feels when he meets his bride in Italy. In the end, I felt this actually enhanced my knowledge of the films, and brought out elements I had not paid as much attention to before.
So if you like the films or just have a penchant for the Italian mafia, I can guarantee this is worth checking out!
Rating: 5/5 bananas
One satisfied orangutan…
Have you read this or seen the movie? What do you think of the Corleone family drama? Let me know in the comments!