“Sweet Dreams, My Child” is an autobiographical novel, in which Italian novelist and journalist Massimo Garmellini recounts the difficulties he faced in his life losing his mother at the age of nine, and living in a world crowded with men, devoid of maternal warmth, and the natural love that only a mother can give. to the child unconditionally.
The novel translated by Mina Shehata and published by Dar Al Arabi is not just a Massimo story, but a story for all of us: everyone can identify themselves in the hero’s confusion and fears, anyone who has lost a loved one, his job or a sense of his existence, feels the emptiness that holds the soul inside him. There is no longer any certainty, life consists only of doubts, insecurities and suspicions that lead to choosing the most rational path. Dreams and desires are silenced: their reality is frightening because they are a very painful danger to be faced. Compromising is the path that seems easiest to follow, but it leaves behind a long trail of regret.
The course of the novel starts from childhood through adulthood and ends in adulthood, to live the pulses and wounds of life, and the continuous struggle against loneliness, loss and feeling lonely, so the painful goal is to extract love and complete and authentic existence, which will finally allow the hero to keep his feet on the ground without stopping to move his eyes towards The sky, after he was walking on tiptoe with his head down because the sky frightened him and so did the earth.
Massimo lives since childhood “with a shrapnel implanted in his heart”. Losing his mother was not normal. She committed suicide due to despair and depression due to suffering from a tumor in her body. This fact he discovers now at the age of nearly fifty, discovers the fact that he may have always known deep in his heart. That his mother did not die of a heart attack, but chose to go away, letting herself fall into the void on a snowy New Year’s Eve.
The mother dies, leaving Massimo with his father. The two face a new world they are trying to understand and coexist with. His secretive father, who does not reveal his feelings and who hides a secret from him may change his whole life completely. He is the young child who misses his mother and her tenderness. He dreams of the new nanny who will embrace him and tell him stories before he sleeps, but she does not. I treated him dryly, and that was the second shock after the shock of his mother’s death.
Massimo retreats into a world he built for himself, a world where his mother is still alive, and where his father treats him tenderly and smiles at him. Thus, between his past and his present, the author moves us between Massimo, a child whose personality grows and changes, and Massimo, a young man who searches for his mother in every woman he meets.
It is a very sad novel in which the hero is always searching for the character of the mother, at the same time analyzing his expectations and reflections, and finally trying to understand himself. The novel is a continuous self-analysis in search of the truth. Her hero himself does not want to know what really happened, but makes his pain one of his reasons for living and his ability to face life, even though he subconsciously knows what happened. But ignorance is a way to guard against pain.
In the end, “Sweet dreams, my little one” remains a story that is able at first to attract the reader’s attention and then strip him of all his masks and all his barriers. The author succeeded in pushing parts of his life and merging them with the life of the young hero who also bears his name “Masimo”, so his talk came directly to the heart of this reader, and with depth and simplicity pushes him to search for his most profound desires that he seeks to achieve, and then he instills courage and hope in the face of life’s challenges .
It is reported that Massimo Garmelli was born in Turin in 1960. His mother died when he was nine years old, when she committed suicide due to illness and depression. But his father told him that she had died of a heart attack, which affected him greatly throughout his life. And discovered the truth after her death more than 20 years. He worked as a journalist, and published several books discussing Italian society and politics. He also wrote about his favorite football team, Torino FC. His first novel was published in 2010 under the title “The Last Lines of Legend”, which has sold 250,000 copies in Italy and has been translated into several languages. This novel, “Sweet Dreams, My Little One” was published in 2012, which was the best-selling novel that year; It has sold more than a million copies.
Excerpt from the novel:
On the eve of last New Year’s Eve, I rushed into the kitchen, announcing important news to my mother:
Mama, get ready. I convinced my dad to take us to see the new James Bond movie.
My mother replied as if to tease me:
Well, I’m not going without Madamein!
Ah, I’m asking her to go out with me! Isn’t that enough for her? Do I not have enough of it anymore?
Well, leave me alone! I hate you!
I hastened to my room, shutting myself well, which required my father’s authority to reverse my decision and open the door.
My mother stayed by Madameanne’s side, holding hands throughout the film. “Agent 007 on Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Sean Connery wasn’t the usual hero this time. Could they have replaced my mother, too? I no longer understood who that woman was, and it was evident from what she had done that night. Oh, if someone had told me it was the last night we’d spend together!
She was lying on her bed when she called me and asked me for forgiveness for what she had done while watching the movie. We hugged tightly in our usual way; Her hair touched my head, and I inhaled his scent. I thought then that my mother, whom I knew, would return to me as she was, but her weakness immediately became apparent, and she had a fit of coughing hard. She commanded me again, in a quavering voice, to be polite to all, in her confidence that I could not bear to deal with anyone, even with beggars.
– All right, mom. good night. Shall I go now?
Of course, sweet dreams, baby.
I’m not young, I’ll be taller than you soon enough.
Certainly, even stronger. Will you promise me that?
I couldn’t take it any longer, so I ran to my room. I didn’t even brush my teeth in rebellion, and immediately slipped under the blanket, falling into a deep sleep.
Madamein revealed to me the mystery of the robe lying next to me. My mother awakened a “damned evil” during the night, and begged him to be patient a little; Now is the time to check on me in my room and make sure I’m still wrapped in the blanket. When she left the room, she had left behind her that robe next to the bed.
Madamein was crying so hard, she couldn’t go on telling any more, and she always stopped at that point. I couldn’t imagine how my mother wrestled with that damn evil? It may be a little scary, so all mothers have been blessed with so many blessings, and it was not impossible that my mother could persuade that damned evil to leave her that night and come and cover me.
My father, with his weak imagination, made up all these lies to make sure that my mother always wished me well, even in her last moments. And who knows, maybe she ran away with this evil because she didn’t want me anymore, or she might be sick of something I didn’t realize. But why did you stop loving me in such a sudden way?
It hurts not to be loved, but it is even more painful that you are no longer loved as you used to be. One-sided love loses its goals, but the only feeling it gives you; It is a feeling of deprivation. The lover takes everything from you, and gives you nothing but your imagination. As soon as that mutual feeling stops, the energy of love with all its cruelty stops immediately. Those who have been abandoned feel guilty for no reason, like a bad-tasting dessert that everyone who has tasted it repels.
Those were my feelings that I could not comprehend on my own. Perhaps my mother went in search of a child who would make her happier. Despite all this, she felt she might come back again, even with another son. Well, I will be patient, declaring my readiness to accept any insult, provided you return to me.
I promised myself to wait for her, but the need to nominate a surrogate mother became urgent, and unfortunately fate excluded those close to my heart.
Grandma “Emma” – my father’s Roman mother – was one of those women about whom there were wondrous legends. Perhaps one of the most famous is; She slapped a young man from her country – later a duke – when he tried to court her on the haystack. The source of this irrational boast was my socialist grandfather, but anyone who was hit by my grandmother’s hands took it for granted. There is another story, and it was confirmed by evidence, where my grandmother raided a construction site under the house, and forced the site engineer in charge, to pay the workers’ deferred salaries, after she raised a stick of dough soiled with flour in his face. She then threatened these workers, using the same stick, if they dared to spend their salaries in the taverns instead of putting them in the hands of their wives.
When she was thirty, she moved to live with my grandfather in Turin, and worked as a housekeeper during the day, and in the evening she wandered into pizzerias selling some of her products; Pork sausage, porridge dishes. My grandmother kept her savings in a tin box, and as soon as my grandfather got his salary—he was a tram driver—my grandmother immediately took it over to meet the house’s need for wine on the one hand, and lest he spend it with his friends on the other. And so she put it safe next to hers.
Grandma Emma divided that treasure into three piles; The first was for bills, the second was for shopping, and the third part – the most important – was to fulfill her desires. She took good care of the growth of that list in particular, month after month, and a strong desire for the washing machine, the refrigerator, and the sewing machine grew in her. None of the family dared approach that box; They had to face that old woman with a stout body, which was just as prestige and power as her person.
The wish-list had reached maturity, and my grandmother at once ran into the store in her occasion dress, and with a sign of victory on her face, that the princess in the fable “The Princess and the Pea” could no longer compete with her.
On that day, the seller suggested that she pay in installments. She stared at him curiously, as if it were flour, wanting to knead it with her favorite sticks.
– Oh, do you really think I’m so stupid that I keep paying for something I already have?
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