Thursday, March 5, 2009
The Godfather -- Mario Puzo ------------ 5 STARS
1969 was a pretty solid year. You got the monumental moon landing (side note, my dad believes this will go down as the most important event of the CENTURY... a debate for another time), Woodstock took place, and it was the height of the Vietnam war. I thought that was about it until I recently finished the amazing, exceptional, ridiculously good The Godfather by Mario Puzo.
People had suggested to me to read this book for a while. I figured I would once I got some time. Well I have no idea what I was waiting for. WOW! What a classic. Most have seen the movie and know the classic references -- "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse" or "Revenge is a meal best served cold" or "We go to the mattresses". Even if you put aside all of the classic lines and stereotypical Godfather lore, you are left with an incredible story with such richly detailed and developed characters you feel as if you know these people, and if you don't, you'd like to.
On a related note, my wife and I just finished watching the Sopranos series on Netflix (another side note, but my wife believes this is the best show she has EVER seen... again, a debate for another time). It was really a pleasure to finish that series as I read this book. The Sopranos have so many explicit and underlying connections with the Godfather. It was also great to see how the idea of a Godfather has changed over time. One of the great things about the book is that it is mostly based in historical accuracies. Although the people not real, much like Pillars of the Earth, the ideas for the stories and characters are based on real individuals.
And that sense of realness, of authenticity, is what makes the Sopranos and the Godfather so fascinating and interesting. The underlying belief of the Godfather and all his "friends" is that they go by their own laws and codes. Society and its laws or only mere suggestions. True morals and ethics, and in turn social morays, are created by people... not governments.
Enough philosophizing... if you have not read the book, go get it right now. It was a great read and is as good, if not better, than Pillars of the Earth (another 5 star book). I can not wait to watch the movie again after reading the book. I could already remember so many scenes from the movie as I read even though its been years since I have seen it.
1969 was truly an impressive end to a decade. In the future, I will find it difficult to not include the release of the Godfather as a major event for that year.