Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar by Pamela Morsi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Molto carino! Ci ho messo un po' a finirlo perché all'inizio il personaggio di Red mi dava sui nervi e avevo interrotto la lettura al secondo capitolo. Poi mi è venuta voglia di leggere qualcosa di ben scritto e non fantasy, dotato di humor ma non autocompiaciuto, e quindi la Morsi è stata la strada più naturale.
Che bella storia. I personaggi si rivelano da soli, con le loro azioni e parole, e la vicenda si delinea in modo naturale e interessante, con guizzi simpatici e anche momenti di profondità. Le vicissitudini, i sentimenti e i pensieri sono mostrati, non spiegati, in uno stile onesto e convincente. La commozione non è cercata e spiattellata, ma sorge spontanea dal percorso e dall'interazione tra i vari personaggi.
Il setting è anch'esso interessante: il luogo dove Red ha il suo locale, alla periferia di una grande città, in cui si annunciano nuovi piani regolatori e lo smantellamento, insieme alle case e alle strade (che manco hanno un nome, solo un numero), di tutto un modo di vivere; e il quartiere bon ton delle villette in cui Red va a vivere con i nipoti grazie al suo ragazzo, quartiere che all'inizio le appare estraneo, ma che poi imparerà ad apprezzare. Ecco, forse la parola migliore per dire qualcosa di questo libro è proprio "imparare". E il personaggio che maggiormente aiuta Red, i nipoti, la sua stessa zia a imparare, è, nel libro, Cam, il giovane musicista che ha una storia con Red e che nel corso della vicenda si rivela un ragazzo che non vive affatto alla giornata, che sa leggere le persone a cui vuole bene e che ha già avuto la sua parte di sofferenza nella vita.
Una buona lettura, davvero consigliata!
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"I forgot," Olivia said. "I heard Kendra crying and I wondered why she would be here. I forgot." The initial disbelief in her voice quickly morphed into guilt. "Kendra's dad is hurt, Kelly is scared and I forgot."
"You remember now," Red said. "That's what's important."
"But I forgot!"
"That used to happen to me," Cam said.
He was leaning on the hallway doorjamb (...).
"What do you mean, it used to happen to you?" Olivia asked.
"When my mon was sick," Cam answered. "She was really sick and for a very long time. We moved here to live with my grandmother. Still, some mornings when I'd wake up, like for a moment, I wouldn't remember. I'd think things were the way they had been before."
"Did you feel bad about it?" Olivia asked.
"Yeah, I felt terrible, terrible for a long time," he said. "Finally I talked to my mom about it. Then I felt better."
"What did she say?" Olivia asked.
"She told me those memory lapses were angel gifts."
"What's an angel gift?" Daniel asked. (...)
"My mom said that God and all the angels in heaven understood how hard it is for a little kid to have to deal with really grown-up things. Things like someone being sick or hurt, someone leaving or even someone dying. That sometimes it just had to be that way, but nobody up there liked it. (...) So sometimes God would let the angels come down and sprinkle some forgetful dust on the child. So that when she's just waking up or he's in the middle of a great game, the boy or girl could forget, just for a few moments, and be just a kid again."
"Cool," Daniel said.
Olivia wasn't so easily convinced. "I never heard of 'forgetful dust'," she said. "It sounds more like Peter Pan than catechism class."
Cam shrugged. "Maybe you'r right," he said. "That's just what my mom told me. She's in heaven now, so she probably knows better that she did then. But it did kind of make sense for me. I mean, what other explanation is there? That I was a bad person because I forget? I don't think I'm a bad person. Do you think I'm a bad person?"
"No!" Daniel exclaimed.
Aunt Phyl raised an eyebrow at that. "When a lady receives a favor," she said, "rather than trying to cancel it out, she should take it as an incentive. If you truly didn't deserve it, then you should work harder to be certain that you merit it the next time."
"Wise words," Red said.
"They are not mine, actually, but my mother's," Aunt Phyl said. "It's strange how carelessly we listen to our mothers, yet the important things they teach us, we never seem to forget."
"You are very lucky," Red said. "Not all mothers are wise. I certainly wasn't."
"Aunt Phyl nodded as if considering her statement. "I'm not sure women are able to make that judgement about themselves," she said. "What about your mother?"
"My mother? Good God, she was worse than me," Red said. "Different, very different, but I think worse."
Red shrugged. "No, it's okay. I did better than she did and Bridge is doing better than me," she said. "By the time Olivia is raising children, maybe our family will be passing down wise words just like yours."
"Narcissism, that's what shrinks call that," Cam said. "I think it's more or less incompatible with motherhood."
"I just realized that my mother and I had something very much in common," she said.
"Both of us got a phone call from our daughter that offered us a second chance to maybe get things right," Red answered. "I guess I'm just lucky that I had to take the call."
"It's always good to konw the truth," Cam said. "Building a lie between you has probably always kept the two of you apart."
"I just don't want to hurt her," Red said. "She's already had to live through enough of my mistakes."
"You're the one who's always telling me hoe tough she is," Cam pointed out. "You've got to have a little faith."
Bridge nodded. There was a long silence between them before she asked the question that was on her mind. "Is the rich muckety-muck my dad?"
Red took a deep breath and answered as honestly as she could. "Tecnically, yes," she replied. "But I like to think of him as more of a sperm donor."
Bridge chuckled lightly. "I've got an ex that's kind of like that," she said. "Don't worry, Red. I have no intention of trying to drag some DNA stranger into my life. If you decided that he didn't deserve to be a part of our family, I trust that you had sufficient reason."
Red was surprised by this admission. "Thank you," she replied simply.