5 Mar 2014


SWEET DREAMS, LITTLE ONE by MASSIMO GRAMELLINI. (Translated into English by Stephen Parkin).

SOURCE: Received for review from publishers ALMA BOOKS.

The story of a lifelong search for happiness.

It's early morning on New Year's Eve, and nine-year-old Massimo wakes up to a long, doleful cry and the disconcerting image of his dad being supported by two strangers. Inexplicably, his mother has disappeared, leaving only a vague trail of perfume in his room and her dressing gown bundled up at the foot of his bed. Where has she gone? Will she ever come back? And will Massimo be able to say sorry, after quarrelling with her the night before?

 At turns poignant and funny, Sweet Dreams, Little One - the most successful book to come out of Italy last year, and an international sensation - is the story of a secret which has been kept hidden for forty years and the uplifting tale of a boy who, as he grows into an adult, has to learn how to cope with the pain of bereavement and the demons of his own nightmares.
... Outer back copy

FIRST SENTENCE: On New Year's eve, like every year, I called on my godmother to take her to see Mum.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 142}: I shut my eyes and saw him. As a teenager, in his prime, as an old man - all the things he would never be . and then again as the little boy in the hospital bed, with a hole in his stomach I'd not managed to fill in time.

MY THOUGHTS: A work of fiction ..... or is it? Given that the main character and author had the name Massimo in common and that the whole tone of the book was autobiographical I couldn't help but wonder if it was based (however loosely) on actual events.

Whilst I found the nine year old Massimo's story a fairly touching one to begin with, unable to feel any real empathy for him as he grew from childhood to manhood and became increasingly self pitying I'm afraid that I rapidly lost interest.

According to the blurb on the back cover a novel that by turns is poignant and funny. Poignant I can understand as at times it was an emotional read but as for humorous? I'm afraid if Sweet Dreams, Little One was in any way 'funny' the humour was lost to me.

Alas not a book I particularly enjoyed as a lone reader but the thought stayed with me throughout that because of the potential for discussion this would have made an excellent read for my reading group.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.

Disclaimer:  Read and reviewed on behalf of publishers, Alma Books, I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.


Kelly said...

A shame it didn't hold your interest throughout, but good that it has potential for discussion groups.

Hoping you're feeling better these days and quickly over the vertigo.

Suko said...

Tracy, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts. Sorry that you didn't find this story more engaging or funnier.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Too bad you lost the empathy for the character. I hate when that happens. I like that you would still recommend it for a group read.

Arti said...

Not a good thing when the story looses its hold and pales out. I wish the story could have delivered what it promised. An excellent review as always, Tracy. Take care.

Brian Joseph said...

Though self pitying can be annoying it is sometimes very reflective of real people.

Of course if one does find a character unsympathetic and grating who otherwise is not supposed to be, it can cause a book like this to utterly fail.

Cherie Reich said...

I do like the simplistic cover for it. It's a shame the book didn't live up to expectations. Thanks for the review!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Because of the language barriers, I too have been unable to find out if this is a story loosly based on the author's memoir.

It doesn't really sound as though it is a book I would enjoy, but thanks for your frank and candid thoughts about it. Just chalk this one up to experience and move on to the next, which I hope will be much more to your liking!

Hope that you are feeling a bit more like your old self now!


Claudine G. said...

I am curious to find out what's happened to the mother, so I might pick this up in the future. 'the most successful book to come out from Italy last year' is quite a marketing pull!

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

How interesting that you didn't find it to be funny! It sounds like a sad read and I am curious about the MC and the author having the same name. Thanks for sharing your honest review. :)

Alexia561 said...

Sorry that this one didn't hold your interest, but I think the main character would have annoyed me as well. Hope your next read is better!