Book Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Book Review: Try Not to Breathe (2016 )by Holly Seddon 4 Stars ****

I had to read this book since it’s recommended by Tess Gerritsen, an author whose early work captured my attention. Many plot twists and red herrings. The surprises never stop. Well-written. Engaging. Maybe a little too long getting to the point? Published in 2016, it is similar in format and characterizations to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012) , Dangerous Habits by Susan Hunter (2014), and Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On the Train (2015). This format seems to lead to success, so if you like the other books, you will like this one.

Alcoholic freelance journalist Alex Dale has done herself in—destroying her marriage, losing her job, and jeopardizing her other relationships—with her excessive drinking. No one knows what to believe. People don’t perceive Alex as reliable. Is she hallucinating, confused, or just fabricating stories for attention? Alex’s current assignment leads her to a neuro-disability unit in a hospital where the patients are in various degrees of brain damage and unable to communicate except for the few who can visualize scenes as instructed to indicate a yes or a no answer to a question posed by a doctor. For example, a brain scan can detect a yes answer when the patient imagines playing a tennis match. Even though unable to communicate verbally or by eye blinks, an interviewer can determine a patient’s positive and negative responses.

Having just been fired for her drunken behavior and working on her own time, Alex is determined to win recognition for solving the mystery of the brutal beating that left fifteen year old Amy Stevenson for dead fifteen years ago. Amy is a patient in the facility where brain scans can be interpreted to tell the story of the past. Since Amy’s attacker has never been identified, Alex jumps at the opportunity to vindicate herself in the eyes of the world and throws herself into this investigation. Step by step, Alex conducts interviews with people from all walks of life as she pores over old news stories and gains new information with each new comment and observation offered by those who are unaware of the importance of what they know. Alex struggles to put it all together until the facts check out, and a clear picture emerges. Sometimes the truth is hidden in plain sight. If you look without prejudging, you just might see it. Fifteen years after the tragedy, the culprit is brought to justice as Alex finds strength within herself to fight off the demons that once characterized  and destroyed her.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

 

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Book Review: Miracle Man by William R. Leibowitz (2015)

Book Review: Miracle Man by William R. Leibowitz (2015) 4 Stars ****

Can you imagine a world without Multiple Sclerosis and over eighty other auto immune diseases, ALS Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, and Malaria to name a few? Our Miracle Man, Dr. Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history has made it all happen. You would think the world would worship at this feet. Instead, the robber barons of the pharmaceutical industry set out to destroy him as they watch their stock options grow more and more worthless.

Please remember, this is a work of fiction.

What’s the connection? If people are no longer sick and dying, they no longer need medicine/ drugs. If they no longer need drugs, pharmaceutical sales plummet along with stock values. CEOs start trading down into smaller houses and forsake their limousines as they start cutting up their unnecessary credit cards to try to live within a budget. Can you picture it? Hence, the vendetta starts as attempts are made to destroy the reputation and the life of the Miracle Man who creates his own inexpensive treatments for the average person, refusing to unduly profit from the suffering and misfortunes of others.

Young Bobby is an abandoned baby who is lucky enough to be adopted by a loving couple. When Bobby is four years old his genius results in his being sent to a special boarding school for genius children. He is isolated from family and friends. Even in this setting, Bobby out scores his classmates with an IQ of over 500. He tends toward melancholy as he struggles against himself. After some time, Bobby loses all those who love him and whom he loves. Eventually, Harvard and MIT demand he work on the space and armament programs and forcibly evict him when he refuses. Tufts University welcomes him with open arms where he becomes a Nobel Prize winner multiple times over for his work in eradicating disease. Two women strongly support him through life and work,  not just figuratively, but also literally, as his divided personality begins to destroy his hold on reality. Becoming more and more trance like, Bobby then struggles to return to the world of the living after a near fatal attempt on his life. Will Bobby ever be the same?

The book keeps the reader’s interest. I loved it in the beginning, but by the middle I liked it a lot. There are instances when time stands still with some repetitions and drawn out scenes of nothing. The minor characters are stereotypical, although often complex. Bobby’s story unfolds slowly. The reader is left with an unsatisfactory end—the story stops, it actually does not end—making way for what I believe will be a sequel.

The author must have done an unbelievable amount of research to explain the medical, chemical, and mathematical aspects of disease and cure. Even though this is a work of fiction, the thought processes and research spark one’s mind to view problems in a different way and to entertain different solutions.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (2018) 5 Stars *****

Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis 5 Stars *****fullsizeoutput_374a

Yes, men can follow these tips also to achieve the life they want.

The point of this book? “Stop believing the lies about who you are so you can become who you were meant to be.”  ‘The author tells us we must choose our own happiness and that we have control over our own lives. Let’s take a ride with this zany author on the road to self-discovery and self-esteem. Think it through. Set up goals. Make a plan. Then do it! ‘  Sound familiar? Yes, but have you done any of it? Or, have you decided those books were written to inspire someone else’s life? You see where I’m going here? This book is meant for YOU. Get with the program, girlfriend

“Where to start? Start with a small goal, be careful with commitments and be honest with ourselves. Go to therapy, hustle for joy, reorder our priority lists. (Make ourselves FIRST!) The secret to success? Wake up early, work the hardest, ask for help, be willing to fail over and over, and be willing to constantly improve ourselves and our brand. You don’t have permission to quit. When a voice of authority tells you’re too old, fat,__, ___, or___, they’re giving you permission to quit. Don’t listen. You do not have permission to quit. Need help? Be audacious, try alternative routes, keep our goals in plain sight. Need more help? Write it down, say it out loud, create a vision board. Need even more help? Mantras, edit media exposure, prepare in advance.”

Remember these tenets: “Someone else’s opinion of me is none of my business. Right now, in this moment, I’m my own hero. Only we have the power to change our lives.”

Final message? “Girl, get a hold of your life. Stop medicating, stop hiding out, stop being afraid, stop giving away pieces of yourself, stop saying you  can’t do it. Stop the negative self-talk, stop abusing your body, stop putting it off for tomorrow or Monday or next year. Stop crying about what happened and take control of what happens next. Get up, right now. Rise up from where you’ve been, scrub away the tears and the pain of yesterday, and start again…Girl, wash your face!

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Valentine Messages

Valentine’s Day presents a special opportunity to show those we love and care about just how important they are to us. Looking for an alternative to traditional chocolate hearts? How about leaving hidden messages for people to find when they least expect it? Not just for family and friends, but also for strangers?

I was inspired by a short article “Love Rocks-Inspiring Messages That Surprise” in the Global Briefs section of the May 2, 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

The author explains how “artistically decorated rocks featuring inspirational messages are turning up in Mobile, Alabama, and along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline as part The Kindness Rocks Project (TheKindnessRocksProject.com). Anyone can paint rocks and ‘plant’ them for someone else to discover. Likewise, everyone is invited to hunt for kindness rocks. those that find a rock are free to take it, plant it somewhere else or leave it for someone else to find.”

What’s the purpose? “The goal is to encourage others to find creative ways to reach out and brighten someone’s day unexpectedly, whether it’s through kindness rocks, love notes or random acts of generosity.”

Need ideas for messages? Love Rocks, Have Faith, Trust Yourself, Have Trust in Others, Believe, Aspire, Inspire, Share Yourself, Create, Reach Out, Friends Forever, You Are Loved, Live Your Truth, Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life.

This got me thinking. If you would prefer not to use rocks, how about these same messages on a  heart shaped sticky-notepad to leave around your home, school, place of business or a public building or restaurant?

Not everyone has a special someone to wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day. Maybe you can be that person to put a smile on someone’s face and a warm feeling in their hearts. What do you think?

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Book Review: Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Book Review: Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton (2017) 4 Stars ****

Modern day Cuban-American journalist and Coral Gables, Florida resident Marisol Ferrera promises her recently deceased grandmother, Elisa, that after her death Marisol will scatter her grandmother’s ashes at a place that she believes to be her grandmother’s most heart-felt location in her beloved homeland, Havana, Cuba. Marisol embarks on a journey of discovery as she uncovers secrets about her family, especially her grandmother, the history of revolution in Cuba, and the heart-breaking conditions under which the Cuban people live.

Marisol now views Cuban history through the eyes of her Cuban relatives and her handsome, educated lover who live in fear for their safety and well-being. As Batista is driven from power in the 1950s, revolutionary Fidel Castro is believed by many to be the antidote to the poisonous rule of the previous dictator. Pretending to be what he is not, Fidel Castro curries favor with segments of the Cuban population and the American government in order to attain his goal of absolute power as he quickly imposes the doctrines of communism on his hapless people, utilizing death squads, imprisonment, and torture to squash all criticism. Instead of restoring Cuba to the 1940 Constitution as originally promised, Castro imposes the Fundamental Laws.

Marisol witnesses the emotionally charged tug of war between those who stayed and those who left which continues to this day. Marisol’s heart breaks as she sees  the conditions under which her relatives are living. Poverty, near starvation, food rationing, forbidden religious observance, and inequality of currency conversions and educational opportunities plague Cuba. Marisol learns to act covertly to offer aid to her family who are not able to trust government, media, neighbors, friends and even other family members. Marisol vows to return to Cuba the following year to continue to do whatever she can to change the plight of her relatives and those who stayed.

No story set in Cuba could exist without flowery romantic language, descriptions appealing to the five senses, stirring music, a heroic love interest, false imprisonment, violent arrests, the rebuilding of family ties, and an understanding of social injustice that prevails on this island located 90 miles off Key West, Florida.

Many of the Cubans who left “the island that can break your heart” moved to Miami, Florida where most have prospered in their adopted country. As is often the case, the wealthier have the means to leave while the poorer do not.

Readers will hear the urgent request to help encourage Cuba to institute social and governmental changes so those who left may freely return to family and lives left behind, and those who stay may have an improved quality of life affording them basic dignity in their struggle for food, education, and political choices. American embargoes have only served to hurt the populace as the corrupt government officials are not negatively impacted.

After the death of Fidel Castro, his brother, Raul, took over the running of the government while continuing Fidel’s policies. Cuba needs help.

The story is poignant, but repetitious of facts, descriptions, and conversations. Marisol frequently asks herself a barrage of questions but whole paragraphs of internal musings would better be presented as statements. These techniques decrease, thankfully, in the second half of the book.

The author, Chanel Cleeton, lives in the US and has a BA in International Relations, and MS in Global Politics, and a JD from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Ms. Cleeton devotes her education and her life to improving social justice.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Please Borrow My Books From the Public Libraries!

Great news! Printed copies of my books can now be borrowed from Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County Libraries in New York. Request an inter-library loan!

Queens Libraries—Bay Terrace, Central(Jamaica), and Whitestone 

Nassau Libraries—Manhasset, Port Washington, Syosset

Suffolk Libraries— East Hampton, Huntington

The digital copies are available in Queens Public Library and may be available in other library systems throughout the country. If your library cannot provide access to these books, please ask them to purchase in digital or paperback formats to add to their collection.

The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion
Sojourn Into The Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

Happy reading! If you do decide to borrow my books from the library, please remember to write a review on the library website.

Thanks,

Elaine

Please let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Frantumaglia-A Writer’s Journey by Elena Ferrante

Book Review: Frantumaglia-A Writer’s Journey by Elena Ferrante (2016) 4 Stars ****

Italian writer, Elena Ferrante, is recognized as one of the greatest novelists of all time. The word “frantumaglia” (frohn-too-mah-lee-uh) was coined by the author’s mother. ” Frantumaglia: A heterogeneous mass of material that’s hard to define. You know how when you have in your head a few notes of a tune but you don’t know what it is, and if you hum it, it ends up becoming a different song from the one that’s nagging at you? Or when you remember a street corner but you can’t remember where it is? To give a label to those fragments I use a word that my mother used: frantumaglia. Bits and pieces whose origin is difficult to pinpoint, and which make a noise in your head, sometimes causing discomfort.”

Frantumaglia gives us insight into Elena Ferrante and all her books through email interviews. She does not do speeches or book talks, accept rewards, speak on the telephone or show her likeness on a photograph, sketch or a painting. I will focus on the author’s responses and not the questions of the myriad  interviewers.

Ms. Ferrante believes good writing stands by itself and has no need of an author’s presence. She also states that it is the media who demand the author, but the readers are happy with just the books.

Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym for an author who wishes to remain out of the public eye. As a matter of fact, writing is not her full-time job. She writes these wonderful books in her spare time—when she’s not at her day job. She will not say what that day job is, other than to mention it allows her the freedom to write. Is she even really a woman? No one knows. She insists her writing is not anonymous. Her books have an author named Elena Ferrante.”

Frantumaglia is divided into three parts:
Papers 1991-2003
Tesserae 2003-2007
Letters 2011-2016

Ms. Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, The Lost Daughter, and The Neapolitan Quartet or The Neapolitan Novels as it is known in the United States. This quartet is comprised of My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of The Lost Child. These books are dealt with in different sections of Frantumaglia where interview questions and author responses are organized sequentially to correspond with publishing dates.

Favorite women authors? Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Elsa Morante, Clarice Lispector, and Alice Munro.

Character ideas? Echoes of many people.

Concern as an author? Ms. Ferrante discusses the difference between verisimilitude (the extent to which a literary text is believable and imitates life) and authenticity (writing in the original, natural language of the author) and how verisimilitude can make things more difficult for authentic women writers. When asked for the names of male writers who write about women: “You ask me about male writers who describe women with authenticity. I don’t know whom to point you to. There are some who do it with verisimilitude, which is very different, however, from authenticity. So  different that when verisimilitude is well orchestrated it risks asserting itself to the point of making the truth of female writing inauthentic. And that is bad. And it’s the reason that the pure and simple genuineness of women’s writing is always inadequate; that I, a woman, write is not sufficient; my writing has to have adequate literary power.”

Why only 4 stars? Many of the questions and responses are the same or have great overlap. I grew impatient as I seemed to read the same thing over and over. A few of the interviewers asked probing questions which led to an engaging experience. Most  could not get past the author’s lack of media presence. What’s the point of arguing this issue? It is what it is. Conduct your interview on a high level and garner praise, or get stuck on an immovable issue and stagnate. Your choice.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

 

Book Review: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Book Review: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (2015) 5 Stars *****(Book 4 of The Neapolitan Novels)

An excellent source book for women’s studies and sociological patterns.

Intelligent. Insightful. Thought Provoking.
Elena Ferrante will be remembered as one of the greatest novelists of all time.

Lenu, our narrator, and her closest friend, Lila, are in their forties through sixties in this book. Their relationship still has its ups and down: interdependence/ abandonment, admiration/resentment, tenderness/anger, understanding/frustration. Lenu reinvents herself as a speaker realizing, “I had a natural ability to transform small private events into public reflection” as she becomes more and more honest and open about her herself and family and friends. Lila keeps her successes hidden from Lenu, leaving Lenu to discover Lila’s accomplishments almost by accident and as incidental comments from mutual friends.

Lenu and Lila continue separately to assert their independence from traditional domestic life, leaving human debris in their wake: hurt, accusations, insults, guilt, broken familial relationships, neglect. ‘Round and around and around they go as people from the past keep popping up, causing them to reflect on the effect of their neighborhood upbringing on their fabric as a person. Lenu tells us we never can truly shed who and where we come from. Our childhood shapes us for a lifetime and we either become trapped by it, or struggle to leave it behind.

Both women need love but often feel trapped by its obligations. Lenu demonstrates her strength as she continuously sets goals and works step by step to achieve them, still enjoying positive relationships with all those from her past. Lila, on the other hand, suffers from emotional and mental problems as she goes through life full of anger and thoughts of revenge, as she vacillates from being a tower of strength and kindness to becoming unglued, neglectful, and distracted. Negativity is her constant companion. Not only does it follow her, but she creates it and magnifies it.

I do not want to spoil the story by telling you specifically about the lost child. This terrible event remains a mystery. Blame and culpability cannot be assigned. Maybe an innocent photograph led to what happened, maybe not. Interactions by Lenu and Lila conspired to create the outcome—ironic shades of childhood—collateral damage? if you will. Still heartbreaking no matter how you slice it.

I love this series and did not want it to end.

Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym for an author who wishes to remain invisible. As a matter of fact, writing is not her full-time job. She writes these wonderful books in her spare time—when she’s not at her day job. Is she even really a woman? No one knows. In any event, her Neapolitan Novels series contains four books: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child.  My Brilliant Friend has already aired on HBO. Although I do not know the time frame, books two and three are scheduled to be made into mini-series to give us closure on Lenu and Lila’s story. Hopefully, the fourth book will be added to this HBO series.

The review for Frantumaglia-A Writer’s Journey, also by Elena Ferrante, will be published on January 19, 2019.

Ciao bella!

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

 

Book Review: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

Book Review: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante (2013) 5 Stars ***** (Book 3 of The Neapolitan Novels) 

An excellent source book for women’s studies and sociological patterns.

Intelligent. Insightful. Thought Provoking.
Elena Ferrante will be remembered as one of the greatest novelists of all time.

Lenu, the narrator, and her closest friend, Lila, are now in their twenties and thirties. Their relationship is still characterized by push and pull—to all appearances polar opposites who really are not so different after all. Both are strong, determined, ambitious, sexual in different ways, feminists, victims of unwanted sexual advances, social activists, politically aware, searching risk takers, reluctant mothers who act independently with decisions that further their personal goals at the expense of family obligations. They both upset the peace as they turn their backs on traditional expectations and seek out situations to place themselves at the top of their games. Which one do you think is more generous to family and friends with time and money? You might be surprised, but then again, maybe not!

This book and the whole series are set against the backdrop of the eternal political battles in Italy among Christian Democrats, Socialists, and Communists. Political views interfere with relationships. When violence erupts, it is their family, friends, and neighbors who are at the center. Mistrust abounds but the characters do their best to pretend they don’t see or don’t suspect, not wanting to believe the worst or contribute to information leading to capture by the police.

Lenu now lives in Florence with her good, but boring and aloof husband and two daughters, at first enjoying fame from her critically acclaimed book and public lectures on feminism and the plight of women. Lenu then hits a low point in her creativity as her popularity declines and she temporarily devotes herself to household responsibilities. Needing a catalyst to jump-start her life, Lenu rekindles a relationship with an old flame which destroys the tranquility of her family life.

Lila has remained in Naples now working at the sausage factory, and having left her husband, is living in near poverty with her son and an old friend, Enzo, who accepts the lack of reciprocal love and happily offers a modicum of financial support and protection. Lila becomes an advocate for the workers at the sausage factory and her outspoken, demanding ways result in a restructuring of her place of employment. The relationship with Enzo gradually grows as they study together to learn new skills to improve their plight. While Enzo initially is thought to be the superior one, Lila quickly overtakes him as new opportunities and demand for her services pull Lila out of her financial slump.

While people admire the accomplishments of those who succeed, there is always the feeling of abandonment. Sure, you’re rich and famous but you turn your back on the rest of us who need you in our lives. What would happen if we all walk away? We helped raise you up, and where are you now?

 

Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym for an author who wishes to remain invisible. As a matter of fact, writing is not her full-time job. She writes these wonderful books in her spare time—when she’s not at her day job. Is she even really a woman? No one knows. In any event, her Neapolitan Novels series contains four books: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child.  My Brilliant Friend has already aired on HBO. Although I do not know the time frame, books two and three are scheduled to be made into mini-series to give us closure on Lenu and Lila’s story. Hopefully, the fourth book will be added to this HBO series. I look forward to reading and reviewing the last book in the series.

The review for The Story of the Lost Child will be published on January  16, 2019.

Ciao bella!

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Book Review: The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

Book Review: The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante 5 Stars ***** (Book 2 of The Neapolitan Novel Series)

An excellent source book for women’s studies and sociological patterns.

Intelligent. Insightful. Thought Provoking.
Elena Ferrante will be remembered as one of the greatest novelists of all time.

Reviewing a book without giving away too much is always a challenge. Set in the outskirts of Naples, Italy in the 1960s—a place beset by poverty, domestic violence, and male domination— Lenu, our narrator, and Lila, her best friend,  are now sixteen and seventeen years old. Their conflicted but dependent relationship continues—supportive/competitive, admiring/contemptuous.

The girls’ lives have taken a more divergent path. Lenu earns her college degree on a full scholarship, is greatly admired and respected, and has published her first book. She has a number of unsatisfactory but convenient relationships with men but continues to pine for Nino. Lenu is still secretive about her sexuality and still has not learned to share her true feelings. Lila is the mother of a small boy. Her marriage is in a shambles with her shrewish, destructive, self-centered, combative, blatantly sexual nature, i.e., sexual with everyone except her husband. With a ruined reputation, still, there are no shortage of men to pick up Lila’s pieces.

Lenu is once more forced to question Lila’s motives when Lila’s decisions put her at odds with Lenu’s deepest, but still carefully hidden, desires.

Some thought-provoking images:

Lina refers to her wedding ring, ” …what is this gold circle, this glittering zero I’ve stuck my finger …”

Lenu is complimented by Armando, Professor Galiani’s son and the rare center of attention when she attends a party with Lila at the professor’s  home, ” He was absolutely the first person to show me in a practical sense how comfortable it is to arrive in a strange, potentially hostile environment, and discover that you have been preceded by your reputation, that you don’t have to do anything to be accepted, that your name is known, that everyone knows about you, and it’s the others, the strangers, who must strive to win your favor and not you theirs.”

After the party, Armando shows a romantic interest in Lenu, but her confidence has eroded, “I was pleased because he obviously liked me, and I was polite, but not available. Lila’s words had indeed done damage. My clothes were wrong, my hair was wrong, my tone of voice was false, I was ignorant…”

After Lenu has broken Antonio’s heart, his sister, Ada, captures the truth as she tells Lenu, “You have no feelings, just look how you treated my brother.” I reminded her with an angry snap that it was her brother who had left me, and she replied, “Yes, anyone who believes that is lucky: there are people who leave and people who know how to be left.”

An amazing character study, we witness the push and pull of everyday life, some more obvious than others, as characters attempt to jockey into position to realize their desired end result, some successful, some always behind the eight ball. Why? Because there’s always another bigger, badder character without scruples or loyalty, who will stop at nothing to attain what they want, and to keep everyone else from getting theirs. One- upmanship always at work.

Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym for an author who wishes to remain invisible. As a matter of fact, writing is not her full-time job. She writes these wonderful books in her spare time—when she’s not at her day job. Is she even really a woman? No one knows. In any event, her Neapolitan Novels series contains four books: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child.  My Brilliant Friend has already aired on HBO. Although I do not know the time frame, books two and three are scheduled to be made into mini-series to give us closure on Lenu and Lila’s story.Hopefully, the fourth book will be added to this series. I look forward to reading and reviewing the next two books.

The review for Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay  will be published on January 12, 2019.

Ciao bella!

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

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