'The Godfather' made Mario Puzo famous. But his best work is about about a woman like my 'Ma'

Apr 05, 2022 683

BY: Marianne Leone

I read Mario Puzo’s megahit, “The Godfather,” in the early 1970s, along with most of the world’s population. As a feminist and a first-generation Italian-American, I had been baffled by the minor role women played in the novel. I knew from firsthand experience what powerful players women were in the Italian family dynamic.

“Women and children can afford to be careless. Men cannot,” intones the title character at one point to his son. Really, Don Corleone? Not in my experience. My mother grew up in a peasant family outside of Sulmona at the foot of the Apennines in central Italy, and she was the fierce beating heart of our family: strong, courageous and not careless in the least. 

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SOURCE: https://www.wbur.org

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