Wednesday, June 16, 2010

[Book Review] The Don Camillo Omnibus by Giovanni Guareschi

Written by Bernadette Chandrasegaram

The Don Camillo books are a series of hilarious short stories that are equal parts heart warming and heart wrenching.

Don Camillo set in an Italy still reeling from WW2. Don Camillo is a Catholic priest in a poor, little town on the edges of the River Po. Don Camillo likes being a Catholic priest and he likes his parishioners. Don Camillo also likes pasta, gambling, poaching and boxing. Don Camillo doesn’t like anyone knowing he likes poaching, gambling and boxing. More than that, Don Camillo does not like Communism.

Enter Don Camillo’s nemesis and main contender for the Hearts and Minds of the town’s people: Peppone. Peppone is the town’s Communist mayor. Mayor Peppone likes Communism and he like the people of the town. Mayor Peppone also likes pasta, gambling, poaching and boxing.

Each Don Camillo story centres around a stouch between the two protagonists who are inevitably pitted against each other for the town’s affections due to their diametrically opposed religious and political outlooks. The magic in these stories, however, is that as they unfold it becomes apparent that underneath their differences in dogmas, Don Camillo and Peppone have a lot in common. A grudging respect – even care – that each has for the other becomes apparent to the reader.

Don Camillo is everything a good book should be: a comical and entertaining read; comfort food for the soul and; imbued with a deeper meaning. It’s deeper meaning is a message of hope that people who believe in different things can still find common ground. 

Find the copy from Brotherhood Books HERE

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