Friday, February 13, 2015

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

I wrote this back in 2009 when we first started the blog. I'm going to go back through and republish some of my original musings from the start of When English Majors Graduate.

I remember that I really enjoyed this book, as did my friends when we were reading it. Right out of college, feeling on top of the world. It's no wonder we were drawn to all the power.

All right, I wouldn't go so far as to call The Godfather erotic, but it was certainly more sexual than I ever imagined. Massive organs opened the book. Reconstructive surgery popped up partway through. The appetites of virgins also seemed to be a steady thread. All in all, I would go so far as to say I was pleasantly surprised by the sexuality of the book, if not a bit confounded by it. These parts seemed, to me, rather progressive, even in a novel that developed post-1950. Considering the Don's abhorrence of sex-related escapades, the prevalence in the text felt a little bit off. Plus, his hatred never really served a purpose. He feuded with the prostitution profiting family, but that's about it. What, exactly is the tale portraying about sex? How is the reader supposed to interpret it? Clearly, it is okay for males to sleep around, but women must remain chaste, monotonous, and dutiful. ::cue unnecessary and obnoxious feminism critique:: But it can't be all bad, either, you damn feminists. There is a desire for the utmost of protection for women in this novel (even if they are treated in something of an inferior light). Plus, I'd say that surgery of Lucy Mancini was very progressive. Still, the novel ends with Kay Adams going to church and becoming the perfect wife and accepting her husbands lies and lifestyle. I guess that's a bit submissive.

But enough of feminism. That was the last thing on my mind when I read the book (as it is in almost any situation). Mario Puzo created an enticing and enthralling fiction. I couldn't put it down. Seriously, I went with my family over the holiday and read all but the last 40 pages in a day and a half. The way the story develops is perfect--a bit of info here and there, and certainly not chronological or centrally focused on a character. But as the readers' involvement with the Corleone family grows, the plot develops, character background grows, and you slowly learn more and more to the point that at the end you know as much as a consigliere. Brilliant. 

Of course, I found some fabulous wordage as well. The nightclub that's a "finishing school for hookers" and the synonym "corpse valet" for "undertaker." And plenty of others that I didn't mark, simply because that would have taken away from valuable reading time. 

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