4 out of 4 stars
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The Amazing Life of Johnny Saint Gold, by Robert Santoro, follows the life journey of the author's father, Johnny, who was from Avellino, Italy. It all started in the late 1800s when, being a farm boy and at the age of nine, Johnny was captured by the Italian militia to perform noncombative supportive duties. Afterwards, he followed the Italian military's voyage to Africa. On arrival, he discovered that they were about to fight a battle (the Battle of Adwa). He escaped from the battlefield, and later on met three young soldiers who convinced him to flee from the army. He and his new friends deserted from the military, and with help from his friends, he embarked on a voyage to America. Eventually, he arrived in America, another strange place to him. He was still a child. How did he survive?
The book unveils Johnny's exceptional experiences during his childhood and throughout his adult life. It shows the challenges he faced and how he overcame them. In summary, it's a story of bravery, courage, grief, loyalty, family, and friendship. Robert, as Johnny's youngest son, presents most of the events and characters exactly as his father described them and the rest from his own memories. The book is about the life and death of a man who defied the odds at so many points in his life. Johnny was a good man, and he valued his family and friends. The story highlights a lot about his job, marriage, children, and business.
This is an interesting and inspiring book. Though it's non-fiction, it's written like a fictional book; it contains only the story, no commentary. As I was reading, at one point, I had to double-check to make sure the genre was non-fiction. It's a page-turner; every page got me more curious. It's full of intriguing action. In addition, the characters are relatable. The author provides enough information about the major and minor characters to enable readers to easily connect with the story. Most of them are memorable, and they depict strength.
In later years, Johnny had surgery several times, and there are some very touching moments in the book. Readers who are very emotional may not want to read it. Furthermore, even though it was well organized and edited, I found some grammar flaws, especially missing commas. The frequency of the omitted commas made me guess that it was the author's style, but that feature made me reread a lot of sentences for better understanding. Anyway, I still followed the story and enjoyed reading it.
Finally, in spite of the above-mentioned errors, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars because it's entertaining and motivational. It's a worthwhile and captivating read. I recommend it to anyone who is seeking an engaging and a well-narrated biography to read.
The Amazing Life of Johnny Saint Gold
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