The Last Don (aka: Why I like books about the Mafia)

One of my goals this year, as it was last year, is to read more. I already love to read, so it’s not really a hard one to accomplish and I live with this understanding that if you’re not learning, you’re dying. So, I read a lot of books that apply to my life, i.e. community, church, mission, leadership, Jesus, service, etc… I try to read things from different authors with different perspectives so things change up a bit and I get to see both sides of an argument. After all, if you just read everything you agree with that’ll eventually get pretty boring.

However…every once in a while I will read stuff that has nothing to do with what I do. Last year I read The Godfather by Mario Puzo. I’ve always loved the movies and the book was even better (except for some very distinct differences that made me very angry…but we’ll not go into that right now). So, for Christmas Cynthia got me another book by Mario Puzo, called The Last Don.

The Last Don is a semi-sequel to The Godfather, in that is just shows the mafia’s continued role in American life, specifically in the worlds of Hollywood and Las Vegas. Without getting into the details…it’s a good book and I devoured all 500 pages of it in less than a week.

After I finished the book it got me thinking…”Why do I enjoy books like this so much?” Your first answer may be something like, “Well, A.J. you’re Italian, so obviously you read it as some sort of biography about your family.” While I cannot confirm or deny any of my family’s relationship to the “mafia” I can say that you would be wrong…sort of 😉

What I do enjoy mostly about these books is the emphasis on family. Not The Family, but family dynamics. Besides the criminal activities of the families portrayed in his books, the close knit relationships these families have is something I think we all long for.

I feel really blessed to have had a great family life growing up and yes, being Italian has played into the fact that family is really important to me.

I think there’s a desire deep within all of us to belong to some sort of family. Maybe your family life wasn’t great, so you’ve created a new family. One made up of friends, co-workers and people you love. Either way, family is important, but it may not always look the same to everyone.

To belong, whether to a family (not The Family) in the traditional sense or to a new definition of family satisfies one of life’s deepest longings.

“Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family. Ever.”  ~ Michael Corleone

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  1. Believe it or not, I had never even watched the The Godfather trilogy until two years ago. I wondered how a movie so old could really be a classic. Suzanne schooled me on it and I watched all three over a (snowed in) weekend. I am so glad I did. You are so right about the sense of belonging and loyalty. It truly made me realize more why people join gangs, etc… for the first time.

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