There were many people who had asked me to read Mario Puzo’s Godfather. Somehow, I just never felt like giving it a read then. Also a couple of years back, I had even started with it but left it midway thinking it just did not fit into the genre of books I used to read. But then my hubby forced me to try this book out and he assured me, the book was definitely worth a read. He got this book for me and I read it slowly and patiently, trying to figure out, what was so intriguing about this book and why this book is such a craze. All my questions were answered as I started reading and did not keep it down until I finished reading it. Well, I surprised myself by reading the book again and again, though not for the story, not for how the Italian Mob operated like one imperial kingdom, not how the Corleone family, the main character as a whole, was one of its kind, but to read those simple sounding hard facts of life, stated by Mario Puzo’s character: Don Vito Corleone. Reasoning with self and with others without getting provoked even by the highest order of aggravation, weighing the pros and cons of decisions taken, assessing the weakness of the enemy by camouflaging one’s own ideas and opinions, and most importantly, taking responsibility for one’s own actions are some of the bitter, but beautiful lessons delivered in this book, as one takes a delve into the manipulative but the intelligent mind of the don vito corleone. I think I can relate this particular character very much with our own Chanakya, who too believed ‘nothing beats the power of reasoning’.
I enjoyed reading this book, specially the part where there are some flashbacks for Michael (his youngest son) and for the reader, where both get a ride into the Don’s past about his calm and matured outlook towards life, his uncanny way of hiding his emotions behind that charming façade of a well chiseled Sicilian features, his unconditional (though never exhibitory) love and affection for family and his famous way of dealing with enemies, ‘revenge is served best when cold’! The character of Don Vito Corleone is such, that the good and reasonable person in him makes him more appealing that even probably makes the reader ignore all his illegitimate dealings in business. One could clearly see him as a palpable threat to the legally law protecting police and judiciary, which is why this particular character has garnered due attention. His first blood, Santino Corleone, who joined his father’s business in his earlier days, comes across as a good hearted, fearless but unreasonably a hot blooded Corleone, who is an blatant example of how all a lead should not be. His uncontrollable impulsiveness, his lack of hindsight on matters concerning his business and family and his poorly guided anger makes him the first fatal causality in his family. Fredo, the second son, who comes across as the weakling, with little voice and absolutely no stand on his decisions, becomes an amicable pawn for the Corleone family and is later maneuvered into the enemy camp, partly because of his grudge against Mikey, who assumes the lead after the retirement of the Don. Michael Corleone aka Mikey, the youngest of the lot, with a clean record and with an extra leverage of being a war time hero assumes power on the death of his brother and failing health of his father. He carries the same vigor, the same reasoning and the same level headed approach towards problems, very much like his father. Although the retired Don never wanted his youngest son to enter his business, destiny did have different plans for Mikey and the young Corleone, who is very much like his father when it came to business, is a step ahead in ruthlessness, for he believes strongly in, ‘No betrayal goes unpunished, and no enemy goes unfinished!’. Well, for a man of his power, such tactics were indispensable and for him, it was either do or die, in every phase of his life.
However, from the book, one can actually deduce a lot about making judgments. In fact, this book gives one a lot more about loyalty, trust and risks too. Overall, this book was definitely engrossing and yes, I would not mind reading certain snippets from this book time and again. Also the movies based on this book is worth watching. Al Pacino and Marlon Brando have done great justice to their respective roles. So happy reading and happy watching 😉
(My reviews on this book are late, but better late than never!)