Review of Have beautiful dreams by Massimo Gramellini

May 4, 2016

have beautifu ldreams coverThis is a poignant and heartfelt memoir, in my view one of the best biographical books I ever read in my life. I am writing my opinion about an Italian book, written in Italian by an Italian author: Massimo Gramellini. Today, Massimo is a very famous journalist in Italy, but his past is very sad and dramatic, nearly tragic. Just for an awful tragedy happened during his childhood, the author decided to tell his story through a memoir, which has also become a masterpiece of the Italian literature.

I read the book in one breath, during a couple of weeks and I found it extraordinary, lyric, poetic, despite all the pain the work conveys during reading. I can only tell you: imagine yourself at nine years old, one day of a normal morning where you, still a child, hear your father cry and scream and being carried away by two policemen and maybe a doctor. The book starts just with this heartbreaking scene and opens a deep and painful glimpse inside the life of a nine year old child called Massimo.

Massimo’s father cried and nearly went crazy because his wife and the mother of his loved child died. But why this woman died? The memoir is a narration about a secret hidden for over 40 years. The family of Massimo, indeed, hid the cause of the death of his mommy as though a secret could erase the grief for that dreadful event. In the Italian version, the book is titled: Fai bei sogni that I translated into Have beautiful dreams. I really hope the book will be translated into English because this is the story about a silence and a secret, namely two ways to deny reality or reject it by preferring the illusion to the grief.

But silence is only a deception of the soul, because children sense everything around them and without the truth, they grow shy and with low self esteem. This, indeed, was the life of Massimo, a child, first, and then a boy, who has been forced to work hard to become a man capable to accept what happened during his childhood. Because acceptance is the only way to grow up and learn to love ourselves and others. In his memoir, Massimo tells about his painful path to be a true person, to be himself, torn between personal and family troubles.

This is also a book about loss and fear of the truth. But this illusion feeds an existential unease and opens the way to a unhappiness with no exit. Refuse the truth is a path which leads to losing the true and deepest self and only a sane finding of the truth can save a child and a man from an eternal grief. This is an extraordinary book that teaches how to live and above all how to overcome the sad and awful events of life.

Death, disease, misfortune is all an important part of the human life and the book seems to claim that it is needless to refuse them. I must admit the author has been able to express his literary message with the power of a great writing and maybe the fact he is a great journalist it is the right prize for writing the brave and heartbreaking story of his life.

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