my betrayed youth

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The repulsion, disgust and shock of pedophilia narrated without censure. The atrociousness of a story (fiction) that amazingly manages, when possible, to give the impression of serenity, with constant signs of hope that convert gloom and desolation into the prospect of a new life. The account of 13 year old Gianni unwinds over a ten year period, in a labyrinth of squalid rooms in the slums on the outskirts of Milan; in the luxury of Milan; Lugano, Switzerland; Lake Como; the magical splendor of Tuscany; the ancient forests of Brazil; Mumbai India; and the breathtakingly beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka. We accompany the sexually abused, permanently psychologically scarred adolescent Gianni from age13, to a promising 24 year old university student. We recognize his suffering and pain, consequence of the sexual abuse and violence he suffered from “that damned pedophile Paolo”, partner and companion of Gianni’s mother Elisabetta, pitiless accomplice of Paolo during the incessant incestuous sexual abuse and rape of her son. When Gianni dramatically flees from his “family”, incredible mental torment is added to physical pain. Ultimately Gianni accepts the professional help of a psychotherapist, of his paternal grandmother, and of a young married couple who rescue him one night in a park in Milan after his escape from home. Gianni is confused, introverted and withdrawn, with numerous unanswered questions as to “why me?”, in the ten years that guide him to adulthood.
At 24, a beautiful and emotionally secure Sandra enters his life with a positive force that Gianni has never experienced: love. When their platonic love is transformed into scenes of elegant passion, this narration gives the reader (and Gianni) hope for his future. Thanks to a continuous series of flashbacks, we are reluctantly involved with Paolo’s contorted psychological makeup and pathological personality. This is not a tale of pedophilia but rather the total reality of a pedophile. The narration is transparent, no holds are barred; terminology is powerfully realistic when tormentor and victim are involved.
Reality and fantasy, as well as humor are entwined into graphic scenes of mortification and shame. Two common denominators in this narration are love and destiny. Finally justice is served. In time the pedophile is punished with a rare and unpredictable violence that sweeps away the nightmare he had chosen as a way of life, not with the gratuitous hate that the reader might have logically invoked early on in the novel. Pedophilia is not a crime against morality, it is a crime against a human being, and those crimes Paolo committed during his lifetime are his frightful legacy; the horrific reality of the evil he leaves behind can and never should be forgotten.