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The Fortunate Pilgrim by [Puzo, Mario]
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The Fortunate Pilgrim Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 304 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

From Library Journal

A young girl comes to New York from Italy to marry a man she hardly knows, thus beginning the saga of Lucia Santa and her two marriages, her five children, and her struggle to raise her family in Hell's Kitchen in the early 1900s. Her strength sustains her through troubles, tragedies, and the onslaught of American culture pitted against traditional Italian life. Puzo portrays the family and their development with insight in an engrossing narrative. The conflicts of the Old World and the New as experienced by the children bring both tragedy and happiness, tempered always by Lucia Santa's iron will. John Kenneth reads with gentle strength, pronouncing with fluid grace Italian phrases and names. His characterizations are subtle but effective, and through his emotional coloring of the text, the listener becomes involved in this family's story. Recommended for fiction collections.?Melody A. Moxley, Rowan P.L., Salisbury, N.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"I began reading The Fortunate Pilgrim yesterday afternoon and didn't stop reading until I had finished it." -- Joseph Heller "Puzo has written a chronicle of Italian immigrant life which is a small classic- The novel is lifted into literature by its highly charged language, its penetrating insights and its mixture of tenderness and rage." New York Times

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 794 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345476727
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (Sept. 28 2004)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC28V2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,744 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on Nov. 25 2002
Format: Paperback
The book I am reviewing is "The Fortunate Pilgrim" by Mario Puzo. I chose to read Fortunate Pilgrim because I had heard from numerous sources that this book was actually better than Mario Puzo's most known and best-selling novel, The Godfather, which I had read and enjoyed greatly. I found it hard to believe a book so over-looked from the public could be better than the masterpiece, The Godfather, and decided to read "The Fortunate Pilgrim" myself and draw my own conclusion.

"The Fortunate Pilgrim" tells the story of a single mother, Lucia Santa, holding together her split family of six children and no husband. Lucias every day life is a struggle, to make sure there is enough money to feed her children and prosper during WWI and the Great Depression. Lucia's first husband died in an industrial accident, and her second husband ran away, leaving her with his 3 children. I personally found the Mother-Daughter relationship between Lucia and her oldest daughter, Octivia very sad yet interesting to read. Octivia wants to become a modernized American and schoolteacher, and discourages her mother for "living in the past". I find the dialogue between Lucia and Octivia on page 23-26 an important passage in the book, as Octivia denounces her mother and fiercly tells her "He's not my father!" when Lucia brings up the hard topic of her stepfather.

"The Fortunate Pilgrim" is indeed a great book. I still cannot decide whether the Fortunate Pilgrim is "better" than The Godfather, but they are both great in different ways. The Fortunate Pilgrim really makes you grateful for things over-looked by many, such as shelter, health, life, and most of all family.
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Format: Paperback
Many of you will no doubt be attracted to The Fortunate Pilgrim riding on the fame of Puzo's mafia novels, especially the Godfather. The Fortunate Pilgrim is more of a drama in the traditional sense of the word. It tells the story of Lucia Santa - an immigrant widow living in a small appartment in New York and raising her children. This book exposes the reality of the life of immigrant Italians in all it's harshness, with the very tight budgets and subsistent living, domestic violence, a clash between the traditional Italian values and modern American ones, the generation gap and the temptation of crime.
This is characterized in Lucia's children. The daughter is an assertive, educated type determined to become big in the real world. One of the sons is a womaniser and all-round good guy. The other sons are archetypes of kids growing up during the depression. A moving, though at times slow book.
If you want to see and enjoy a different side of Puzo as a writer, this novel is ideal.
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Format: Hardcover
Mario Puzo feels that this novel, written before THE GODFATHER or any of his more popular novels, is superior to them all. In a creative sense, THE FORTUNATE PILGRIM is the parent, and the rest of his books are the offspring.
In the hands of someone like Puzo, the creative process is a wonderful thing to observe. He relates how he set out to write a novel in which he was the hero and the rest of his family were villains who wanted to stifle his writing career; and how, stalwart young man that he was, he succeeded in spite of them and the stumbling blocks they placed in his path. He was unable to write this version of his life, not even as fiction. Truth and the memory of the strength of the woman who reared him wouldn't allow him to deny the impact she had on his life.
Puzo wrote, but not what he had planned, or even what he thought he was writing. At some point he realized that the book wasn't about himself. It was about his mother. THE FORTUNATE PILGRIM's Lucia Santa is the personification of Puzo's mother and this book is her book as surely as if she'd written it herself.
When we read about Lucia Santa's life in Hell's Kitchen, a single mother as we would call her today, as she raises six children, we are constantly amazed at her strength.
Her oldest son becomes a Mafia Union Organizer (read strong arm man and collector of "protection" money) against her will. But Lucia Santa prevails.
Her daughter spends six months in a sanitorium for her lungs and comes home too assimilated for Lucia Santa's taste. But Lucia Santa prevails.
One of her sons commits suicide. But Lucia Santa prevails.
One tragedy follows on the heels of another. But Lucia Santa prevails.
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Format: Paperback
No matter how idealized one's life might be through its reflection, in reality the strong message that Puzo sends is that life simply isn't perfect. From the various characters presented in this book, Lucia and her family, I realize that the certain experiences of immigrant families from far away are raely easy nor wonderful. When we read books, at least when I do, we tend to escape into the wonders of that particular world. A lot of times I tend to place the characters on this high pedestal of moral righteous-ness. From what Puzo has presented of Lucia Santa and her family, I am once again reminded that nobody in this world is perfect and that life is just life; it is what we make of it. One can obviously see the difficulties that the family has adjusting to the challenges of life in America. As much as I didn't want to be reminded of the self-deprecating worthlessness of these characters, I had no choice but to understand the desperate and hypocritical nature of humans in time of great upheaval; afterall, Lucia and her family simply had to live. I give this book a 3. Although I do respect Puzo's narrative of a 'certain' Italian family, as I finish the book there is an incredible sense of incompleteness. The Fortunate Pilgrim just seems unfinished. But then again that's what Puzo might have wanted his readers to feel.
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