There is nothing like reading a book like “The Godfather”. The movie is just second to ‘Citizen Kane’ in the top 10 movies of all the times (bless Francis Ford Coppola, the genius, especially for the climax baptizing scene); but the book is second to none. It is the ultimate storehouse of all the philosophies that you will need to survive in this ‘big, bad, bad world’.
When I saw the movie, I was knocked out of my senses and couldn’t believe that such a masterpiece of cinema was ever made (of course before that, the same had happened for ‘Citizen Kane’; it was unbelievably brilliant too) but after I read that book, I think my senses were not just knocked out, but when they woke up, they had a higher sense of realization and understanding of how to deal with this world, than ever before. Mario Puzo, you are a real .90 caliber pezzonovante, a real ‘Sicilian’!!
Here’s what I learnt from it and my take on it:
1. The world is so hard to live in that you need two fathers; one, your father and the other, Godfather. [My take: Even if you don’t have a godfather, read ‘The Godfather’, it will get you going quite well.]
2. Everyone needs to ‘make their bones’ [My take: ‘make your bones’ (i.e. prove your worth) as soon as possible and take off before they break your bones]
3. Make an offer they can’t refuse. [My take: If you can’t make an offer like that…read the next point]
4. Reason with them. It is all business, nothing personal. [Wow!!]
5. Obey the law of omerta. [This is the terrifying, mafia way of saying ‘Silence is golden’ and ‘Speech can get you killed!!’]
6. Get all thehorses in the big deal. [Read the book to understand this…a real phrase to know!]
7. Never take sides with the outsiders against the Family [How uncanny…In India, we have this thought too…it is translated as ‘if you want a love marriage then go to hell’] :)
Just kidding. Anyways the thing to remember is, be careful about who your ‘consigliori’ (counselor) is and try and make the right choice of ‘capo régimes’ (captains/commanders), presuming you have something under your command that needs to be taken control of. And last but not least,
One or the other day, everyone has to ‘go to the mattresses’.
(that means ‘Go to war’. War/ Battle/ Gang war /Ambush/ Street fight/ Sibling tussle / Cat fight/ Pillow fight / Cushion fight?? / Verbal (unheroic) fights, any and every form of combat imaginable)
So be ready at all the times, never let down your guard else your belongings will be found wrapped around ‘dead fish’. (Yes, even for the cushion fights; people usually fall off the bed in an unaware moment, so don’t take it that easy. Haha)
And that’s the gist of Godfather’s wisdom for you. Work for the best, be ready for the worst.
Jokes aside, it is a fantastic must-read and the movie is an absolute gem; the characters literally leap out of the book to be onscreen. I can’t believe I am reading this so late into my ‘literature appreciation’ years; but any time is good time for ‘The Godfather’ and it one of those stories that will stay with you forever.
P.S. I didn't see why there was so much emphasis on characters of Johnny Fontane, Nino Valenti and Lucy Mancini....but otherwise it was just great!!!