4 out of 4 stars
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Me and Mario: Love, Power & Writing with Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather by Carol Gino is a memoir that narrates the coexistence, love, and creative collaboration between Carla Gino and Mario Puzo. In this book, Carol offers us a raw insight of her intimacy with one of the most renowned writers, as well as her experiences in their travels together to New York, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Cannes, Venice, Rome, and Sicily. Additionally, she decides to share the advice she received from her literary mentor, which allowed her to complete her first work, The Nurse's Story, and launch a successful career as a writer that led her to become a New York Times bestselling author.
When Gino met Mario, she was a 37-years-old nurse who was ending her second marriage. She had assisted the Puzo family during the hard battle against cancer that Erika, Mario's wife, had to face. After her death, Carol promised her that she would take care of the family, and while a connection was formed between them, their differences limited the scope of their relationship. After all, neither was particularly ripe for a new romance, Mario was almost 20 years older than her, and while he was a romantic patriarch, Carol was a radical feminist. Even so, their bond became increasingly strong, resulting in a relationship that lasted for 20 years until Mario's death.
In the book, Mario tells Carol that her greatest strength when it comes to writing is the dialogue. Without a doubt, Ms. Gino knows how to carry out forward her work thanks to the conversations between the protagonists of this book. Love, writing, relationships, power, equality. Every talk between Mario and Carol is a pleasure to read, a way to discover the true nature behind these two authors and to understand the raison d'être behind the love story of such diverse persons. I was particularly fascinated by their conversation about power in relationships and the decline of traditional marriage.
As for the prose itself, Mrs. Gino definitely knows how to tell an entertaining story from honesty and humor, conveying a wide variety of emotions in an informal tone that fits this book perfectly. One can definitely empathize with her when she relates her discomfort when big events with famous people take place, or her concern when Mario does not pay attention to his health. The editing work is pretty good, although it misses some double quotation marks in dialogues along with a few interrogation marks. At any rate, these issues do not move the reader away from the reading flow.
Despite these minor editing issues, I have no complaints about this book. Each of the memories narrated by the author are vivid and engaging. Even if some of the pieces of advice that Mario provides throughout the text are most likely already known by aspiring writers such as myself, they have no waste whatsoever. Honestly, I see no reason not to give this book anything less than 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it particularly to those who seek to read romance stories between two opposite people and those who want to know a little more about the life of a published writer, although some specifics have changed over the years.
Me and Mario
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