“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
– Don Corleone in The Godfather
What if I told you The Godfather is claimed to be one of the best piece of motion picture of all time? What came to my mind is an insatiable urge to find the novel and thoroughly read it before satisfying my cinematic needs. I had to read the bestseller classic novel and find out for myself how it got so many people hooked to this iconic figure, and at the same time figure out why it deserved a movie. Mario Puzo’s The Godfather (1969) is the novel that got me all fuzzy inside. In The Godfather, you get to see power and traditions being passed over from father to sons. This masterpiece tells the tale of an underground Sicilian mafia that forged it’s empire after immigrating in America from Sicily. Built from blood and tears, the family finds its wisdom and knowledge through the great Don. The Godfather. A man who lives his life by settling problems for others and making offers that can’t be refused. Old and wise, he’s seen as an old school mafia boss who finds his wealth through prostitution and gambling. But times have changed. He now lives in a period where new sources of income rises (yes, of course, drugs). Sadly, he also needs to pass on the torch to his sons since Father Time never cuts us some slack. The story focuses essentially on family as well as a great deal on values that the Don establishes in his family. Through unbelievable story-telling, we enroll in a journey to follow this family as they wage war with great Mafia Families. Greed, power and loyalty are all set into play.
If you thought a novel couldn’t come across as fascinating when discussing the lives of Mafiasos, then you should think again. This novel is so well-written, it has you turning pages till dawn. I’ve never seen myself wanting more from a 600 page novel, praying that it would never end. The story behind every character makes you want to know more. You even get first class seats to underground criminal activities in everyday life; as if it was a casual thing. This novel does sometimes cover details that will certainly be forgotten later on in the story, but these elements add to our need to understand characters and events. In other words, it puts you in the mood. In drags you into its universe. The structure of the novel itself could seem overwhelming to some readers, but I thought it helped us readjust ourselves in space and time. While a major event would be happening in America to one protagonist. You would get a whole chapter of another character’s life events during the same time period before seeing both worlds collide and unfold into a beautiful story. I absolutely loved how things were always connected and seemed pertinent in the bigger scheme of things. Every chapter were so well written, it gave you insight into character habits, thoughts and motives. What I found ingenious in this novel is how the story is written in a way for you to acknowledge you’re inside a criminal family and that behind every action, there’s more than just violent and irrational behavior. You get to live inside their minds and see how things are done from the inside. Everything just seems completely reasonable. Kudos Mario Puzo, Kudos.
If it wasn’t for the writing, these characters wouldn’t have had the same effect. Throughout the story, you get to sift through basically all the characters stories. Unlike a lot of novels, this classic piece describes characters in their entirety. You don’t go through this book without understanding what drives each person. Every detail comes into play in this tale. Every characters mood and ticks can have an impact in the story. It’s so well-written that events gets you engaged all the way. In no way where the main characters stagnant, simple and boring. If anything, you get to see some pretty conflicted characters and enjoy understanding where these crisis’ come from. Seeing them so human… that’s what I call a masterpiece. It’s also amazing how you can also recognize and see the evolution of some protagonists. SPOILER HERE: Hover over text to read. As I already mentionned, this novel is so eloquent. It really gets you sucked into their world. You just come to realize that some of their actions, normally intolerable, are actually forgivable. Isn’t that insane? Some characters even get you to want to slap some sense into them. On the other hand (see what I did there?), some characters get you to sit down, listen and learn how to do business.
The lawyer with the briefcase can steal more money than the man with the gun.”
– Don Corleone in The Godfather
Who would’ve thought that the great Don could be presented in such a way that his wisdom and rationality, with a touch of old school tricks, would rub off so easily on his circle and the readers? Throughout the novel, you get hands-on moments to swallow in rather interesting thoughts by some characters. The quote mentioned right above is a perfect example of this. In fact, when this was told by the Don, you could feel the sincerity and the truth behind his message. There wasn’t any better way to persuade someone that making money can be done a lot easier through more legitimate ways, rather than running head first into a criminal path. The novel isn’t short on Sicilian culture and beliefs. Bringing their way of life into the American culture in order to build their lives (even if it comes down to an underground mafia) couldn’t be seen any better in this novel. The Godfather describes these elements with so much accuracy that you can’t help to believe the world it absorbs you into.
“Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.”
– Don Corleone in The Godfather
The Godfather focuses a lot on relationships. Friendship. Family. You can see how the foundation of the family is built on these links that bound every actor, every member. Everyone has a different gauge level of love for each member, but love towards each other is still noticeable. The novel covers so much grounds, you could easily go from a love scene to a business meeting while never being bothered by what you read. Every scene puts forth a certain lesson when it comes to relationships. It could be as simple as loyalty or as complex as love. The Godfather, the Don himself, shows how he’s a man who sees friendship almost just as important as family. He sees the action of giving favors as a gesture to prone others to come to him when in need of help. Nothing makes him jollier than knowing that the people he’s done favors too come to him when in need and that they also help him when in need. The novel gets you to sympathize with the characters. It really is beautiful.
The Godfather is a novel that you need to experience for yourself. If you’ve already seen the movie, you are definitely up for a treat. The book covers more adventures than the movie could afford to show. If you’ve never seen anything Godfather related, then you are definitely up for a treat. The story of this Sicilian mafia family will eat you up and you won’t regret it. The novel looks pretty huge and could almost remind you of those days when you were going through your copies of Harry Potter, but be reassured. You will get through this book so fast, you would want it not to end. With great characters, great setting, great plot and plenty of wisdom, this novel will remind you why you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
If it wasn’t already common knowledge, this masterpiece is one the best movies of all time. An amazing adaptation to an adventure filled novel. The acting was on point, the scenes were brilliantly portrayed, the dialogue got through with heart and passion. What can I say, it’s one those movies that’s just hard to look away from once you’ve gotten through the novel. I have to add that there was a bunch of events in the novel that were cut out in the movie and fast-forwarded through, but that didn’t change anything to the impact the movie had. In fact, the director was able to pick all the essential events to form the brilliant Sicilian story. I was also extremely passionate in finding out how they wrote the movie when the book was written in a way to show all the different character’s events during the same period of time. The movie did an amazing job at reconstituting everything in order to follow the events chronologically without having major confusion during the screening. Overall, The Godfather movie is an absolute classic that deserves to be seen (as well read, why else would I put up a review this long?). Who wouldn’t love to see the great Marlon Brando and Al Pacino do what they do best? Check out the trailer here:
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My overall rating: ★★★★★/