I wanted to love this book. I truly did. When I first received the e-mail asking me to review Dr. Joe Ferry’s book I jumped at the chance because the book sounded so intriguing and exciting! I love historical fiction and I love autobiographies and despite knowing in advance that this was a novel written as a “faux autobiography” about a man, ”Trouble” Ventura and his connection to his mafia don father I still expected to love it. The problem was that throughout the book I continually felt just a little disappointed.
The book was good but it just wasn’t great. I was interested but it just didn’t capture me. It was interesting but it just wasn’t intriguing. There were moments that were “Oh! Wow.” but they just weren’t “OMG! What?!?” It ended up being a book I’m glad I read but not a book I feel is a must-read.
There was a mention in the book about him being angry and shooting a girl in the face with a bow and arrow. It sounds horrific but it wasn’t. It was such a minor event in the book. It was barely two sentences and was glossed over with such ease that you almost don’t recognize it as the first true outburst of violence by Trouble. I read about that incident but was left wishing that Dr. Ferry had elaborated on the event just a little bit more, I wished that he had been a little more detailed, a little more graphic, perhaps set the occurrance up just a little bit more dramatic. I wished that situation evoked just a little bit more emotion out of me. I didn’t feel bad for the girl nor did I relate to Trouble. It generated a very mild reaction and something I consider a rather significant event in the character’s life I would have imagined deserved a little bit more attention. The same goes for when Trouble was trying to avoid the military draft. I understand that the book was more about Trouble’s relationship with his father than it was about the mafia life but I felt like the violence in the mafia life was minimized so much that it almost became irrelevant.
There was a heavy focus on the parties they threw, Trouble’s desire to play music, his bands and the girls. The book did a great job of making me understand that Trouble had a strong admiration for his father and the lifestyle. I could see where Trouble wanted to be like his father, loved and adored his father, and wanted to continue in the family mafia legacy but he was in love with music. Trouble wanted to be like his father but in his heart he was led down a different path.
I kept wanting the story to be more detailed and more emotional. I kept wanting to feel a deeper connection to the book and the character and the story and I didn’t. Overall, I could see the story and I could understand the story but I just couldn’t feel the story. I did like the book and I am glad I read it and if you’re looking for a quick and entertaining read then I do recommend it. It is good I just feel like it had the potential to be great and it fell just a little short. That being said I do believe this is Dr. Ferry’s first novel and I expect that his books will only get better. If I ever had the opportunity to read another of his books I would definitely grab it up.