the solitude of prime numbers paolo giordanoHere I am with a new book review to push readers to defeat the digital alienation. That is a review about a book written in the Italian language, by Italian author Paolo Giordano. When it was released, in 2008, the book was a real best seller. It was titled La solitudine dei numeri primi. It was translated into English in 2011 with the title” The Solitude of Prime Numbers”. That is a novel about two children (first), two teens (during) and two adults (after). They are Alice and Mattia, two Italian students who endure painful vicissitudes in their lifetime, especially when they were children.

Alice has been forced by her father to ski along the Italian mountains. She hates ski and a day has a severe accident that injures one of her legs. The accident causes her to limp forever. Mattia, instead, is a very clever boy, rather, a genius of mathematics. He has a disabled twin, Michela, she was born with a severe brain disease who causes her to be mentally retarded. As you can see, the first emotional impact, that made the novel an international best-seller , has been the contrast between the two twins Mattia and Michela.

The first, mentally gifted, and the second, mentally disabled. It is like if the brother stole a bit of a brain to her sister while they were in the maternal womb. Anyway, the life of Alice is hard, too. After recovering from the mountain accident, Alice resumes attending the secondary school, where she is bullied and mocked by her mischievous schoolmates. The most evil is Viola, who forces Alice to swallow a candy trampled on the ground to prove her courage and simultaneously humiliate her.

This is another painful and touching stage of the novel. But the vicissitude that most of all marks the life of the two characters is the one of Mattia. The latter is asked by his mother to go to a birthday party with his disabled sister. Mattia is a child and is ashamed to show his sister to his schoolmates and so, in a rush of shame and (maybe) of hate toward the poor and unlucky sister, he abandons Michela at the park to go the party alone and without the burden of the sister mentally retarded. When he realizes to having committed a cruel deed, leaves the party and goes to look for the sister, who, unfortunately, disappears forever.

Well, this stage of the book made me cry because shows that feelings among people, friends and siblings are not always so plain and quiet or based on an unconditional love. Unfortunately, people can also harbour annoyance and shame toward people who are different. This novel is, in fact, about love and diversity and the title “The Solitude of Prime Numbers” does not relate to the fact of the cleverness of the two characters, but, rather their incapacity to accept diversity (the limping leg for Alice, who endures humiliations from her schoolmates to pay for a fault, the disabled sister for Mattia, a little genius unable to accept his mentally retarded twin). The not-acceptance will drive the two characters to live a hard life when they become adults, also.

The sad episodes of their childhood also will lead them to meet and share, partially, their sorrow, but will never bring them to love really. The book is a punch in your stomach, a sharp tale about the most secret and unspeakable human feelings. Thanks a bright, mature and intimate writing, the author tells about a burning topic containing strong emotional implications. Fortunately, Paolo Giordano has maintained steadiness and courage during his narration, alternating it with moments of tenderness and tenacious hope.

This author is the brightest proof that a good book can always become an international best-seller.  The Italian edition of the book was released by Mondadori.  This Italian publisher appreciated the first draft of the book and, a few years later, the novel has been internationally translated. If you are an author, you must believe in this for you book, also. If you are a reader, instead, you must read it.

However, I would have liked to read a different conclusion, because, in the plot, the love story between the two characters remains unaccomplished. For this reason, my rating is four stars and not five. The novel is absolutely to read, anyway, because it is a story where the main characters are our same feelings, our same and sometimes, sick emotions.

Title: The Solitude of the Prime Numbers

Author: Paolo Giordano

Publisher: Penguin Books

Pages: 288

Price: Kindle edition $8.66 Paperback $ 13.12

Available on Amazon.

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