Tuesday, August 7, 2007

When The World Was Young by Tony Romano

In When the World Was Young, the members of the Peccatori family come face to face with tragedy. A tragedy that has them reeling in pain and seeking refuge away from each other. While they try to carry on with their lives, each deals with secrets and desires, some too risky to share with others.

Set in the 1950s with brief respites in the 1970s, Romano’s novel is an excellent narrative about family, growing up, grieving, love, and compassion. It’s exceptionally well written with a terrific storyline and fascinating characters. Even though the book was overwhelming sad, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Every once in awhile, I come across a book with characters that I care about. I wonder about them even when I’m not reading the book. What are they doing now? Are they going to be ok? Is everything going to turn out for them? This is just such a book. I’ll be thinking about these characters for a long time to come.

I really liked a number of the characters: Santo, Victoria, Agostino, Vince. It took me awhile to warm up to Angela Rosa, but she had me in tears near the end. Normally, it drives me crazy when characters keep secrets from each. In this case, though, it didn’t. Because the story was believable and so well written, I understood the characters and the reasons for their actions.

I loved the whole book, but I particularly liked the chapters in which the author switched to first-person and jumped 20 years ahead in time. These chapters were few and far between, but they fit in beautifully with the rest of the novel and gave the reader a brief glimpse into the future.

Generally, I’m not a re-reader. However, in this case, I might make an exception. I hope to read many more books by this author.

A beautifully written story. Highly recommended.

I got this book from the HarperCollins - Reading Group on MySpace.

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