You could say I'm somewhat obsessed with John Fante. I love his writing, and am intrigued by the man himself. So much so that I was eager to read what his son had to say about growing up with The Legend. I enjoyed the book very much, even though you learn more than you may want to about John Fante. For example, Dan writes: "My dad was not a nice man." It's pretty heartbreaking to see how passively abusive he is to his family, and the effect it had on Dan. On the other hand, Dan has enormous respect for his father the artist...with his unwavering dedication to it over the years despite many setbacks. I found the book gripping, fascinating, and easy to read in a few days. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because I thought at times it was too much about Dan, and not enough about his relationship with his father. And if you've read Dan's books, you'll find some of the stories familiar. But all in all a great book for any Fante fan..John or Dan.
I came on Fante's book by accident, or perhaps habit best descibes it. I often scan titles and brief descriptions of books and then let the book pick me. This one spoke to me timidly, as I have seen the effects of addiction on loved ones, and wasn't sure I wanted to read about the soul eating, battle scarred lunar landscape of an addicts life. This is a raw look into addiction and addictive mental illness, as I believe they are twins, conjoined at the head and heart. I found the book riviting; the pace was quick and the story almost stupifying in that all the characters would come so close to the 'top of the mountain' only to self-destruct before reaching that spot where one would plant the flag. But it did help me to understand that the brain can be one's own worst enemy. We all know that on some level, but Fante slams the point home with his brutally honest recounting of his brain's constant hyper state and his fight to quiet it, through alcohol and drugs. This book should be...
Dan Fante's autobiography is a rambling, drunken, rage powered revelation. I bought this book on a whim on Amazon because I had read and admired his father's work. I had no expectations it was going to be one of the best books I've read in the last year. I heartily recommend it to anybody who can appreciate the courage it took to write a book this honest and this unflinching.
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