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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Protecting the Cittern by John Cammalleri

Gritty and moving

PROTECTING THE CITTERN is a heart-wrenching story about a dysfunctional family, a manipulative and abusive father, a submissive mother, and children who try to carve a life for themselves in spite of it all. Tony, the son, hates his father and for good reasons. From childhood on, he and his family were the target of his negativity, his taunts, and his cruelty. Even from his hospital and nursing home bed, Sammy still finds ways to interfere with and control his next of kin. In the first part of the book, you ask yourself if there is anything redeeming about this man. Yet soon, we get glimpses of Sammy’s past, dating back to his own childhood in Italy and his role as soldier in the World War Two. And after his father’s death, Tony uncovers by accident a deeply painful secrete in Sammy’s past, which makes him understand why this seemingly loveless man projected all his feelings onto a musical instrument, which he caressed and protected more than he ever did his wife and children. Sammy’s own suffering doesn’t exactly absolve him but makes him just a little more human. And Tony—and with him the reader—feels pity rather than hate and anger. This is a very human tale, dark but also full of life and hope. Beautifully told and highly recommended.

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