The Godfather – Mario Puzo

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Who does NOT know the name of Corleone? Who does not remember such iconic phrases as “I’ll make him and offer he can’t refuse.” Or, “Bonasera, Bonasera…” I had never read the book though.

As a well-known and avid’ the book is always better than the movie’ person, I decided it was time. In some ways this applies to this book and in some it doesn’t.

First the story is great. And the characters you can TOTALLY place them with historical characters. I was impressed and pleasantly receptive to the extra story lines missing in the originally movie. Johnny Fontaine, Tom Hagan, and Sonny’s bridesmaid, Lucy Mancini all have MUCH bigger parts as do Clemenza and Tezzio. Further, I learned that the ending of the film and consequently the entire plots of the 2nd and 3rd films do not fit with the book. If you strip away several facts they might.

First, Michael and Kay have 2 sons. There is no daughter.

Second, Sonny didn’t father any children with Lucy, in fact she plays a MAJOR role in the book and has a love affair and assumed marriage with a Doctor. Therefore the entire romantic plot of the third movie is out the window.

Third, Michael, through the entire book doesn’t want his children to be Mafioso. He wants them to be anything else and this is why he marries Kay.
Fourth, the Kay from the book was not horrified by Michael’s life, though she did leave him. She left because he lied and nothing more. Tom goes to talk to her, admits everything and she forgives him and becomes catholic and begins to behave like Momma Corleone. She also was vehemently against abortion and was a pastor’s daughter so she never ever would have had the abortion or divorced Michael. She had no objections to his life in fact the book says she was as good as a Siccilian wife.

Fifth, Connie forgives Michael immediately and remarries just as quickly but remains with the family.

Sixth, at the end of the book, the Corleone family is out of the mafia, well that’s the way it seemed to me. They have sold everything. They are in the casino and film industries 100% and therefore Michael has lived up to his promise.

Seventh, Michael sent Tom to tell Kay that she could have everything she wanted if she left him, he would not fight her. THIS is the love for Kay we have seen the entirety of the book and the films. It never made sense that he had the kids in the movies or that she was persona non grata or even for Connie to help her.

And the list goes on and on.. so for me, who loves the films the revelation that almost everything in the second movie, with the exception of the flash back scenes, was against cannon and against that characters was shocking, at first. The more I thought about it, while I loved the 2nd movie it seemed to me that Michael was going against everything we’d loved about him in the 1st movie. That’s because it was. While the 3rd movie tried to remedy that, I never understood the Michael and Kay getting back together thing and that is because The Kay in the movies never would have done it. Further the Michael in the movies never would have given her custody of his children, so to change the characters so radically and then expect us to revert is absurd.

Here are two more web sights that point out the same things:

But I loved the book, I loved the ending, it fits a 1940’s and 50’s marriage. You know that Kay stayed and you know that Mike got out and that everyone lived happily ever ever etc. You can see the horizon and that is it. So in that I adore the book so much more.

But the parts I didn’t like. There is a really long explanation of Sonny giant ummmmm well you fill in the blank. Then along with that is a really long explanation of Lucy’s ummmmmmm congenital defect causing her to have a large ummmmm female part. Then there is of her doctor boyfriend explaining, during se mind you, the medical reasons for things. And then an even longer description of the surgery to fix it.

With the exception of one or two of Michael anad Kay’s sex sense and the Appollonia one all of the sex scenes are HORRIFICALLY medical in terminology and horribly written. Mister Puzo probably should have faded to black on most of those.

This book is MUCH more realistic in representation of the Mafia. It is much more believable in the ending and it also leaves the reader knowing that Michael started and ended the book with the same desire to live a legitimate life. The movie makes him a straight gangster and one has to wonder how much input the author had of over the script.

All in all, great read!

Read By….. Brandy Potter

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