Mario Puzo’s novel, “The Godfather”, was a great hit in 1969. The movies Godfather I, II, and III then followed. I really like this book because it is more than just a novel. It is a book that borders on moral philosophy. People get all hung up on terms like Godfather and crime family to the point that they miss the underlying moral story that is being told.
This story is not unique to Italians, it applies to everyone. That is, in the end, you cannot blame your childhood, your economic background, skin color, nor misfortunes for your lack of good judgement. Bad things happen to good people; and in the end, it is your choice to pick the Right or the Wrong.
In this quotation, Johnny Fontaine is the Godfather’s godson. He just had a fight with his second wife and is feeling pretty low. This marriage was an impulse, a fling, and now it is going down the tubes. It hurts even more when you consider that he left his first wife, his high school sweetheart and 4 kids for this “tramp”. Johnny was a pop singer, then moved to acting. Now, he cannot sing anymore because of a condition in his throat and politics is blocking his career in the movies.
Being at the end of his rope, Johnny is going back to the only man with the power and “a love he still trusted”. I first read this novel when I was 27 years old and those words were burned into my mind; I have never forgotten them. I implore you however to put away all that mafia stuff and just look at the human tragedy going on. Think about that, the one love that you know is real. Sound familiar?
A couple of summers before I read the novel, I was working at Dow Chemical as a summer intern, in Freeport, TX. One day the cleaning lady told me, “A mother’s love is the only love that you know is for sure”. I hoped that I would never live to see the day that love would be so hard to find.
Johnny sat on the floor with his face in his hands. The sick, humiliating despair overwhelmed him. And then the gutter toughness that had helped him survive the jungle of Hollywood made him pick up the phone and call for a car to take him to the airport. There was one person who could save him. He would go back to New York. He would go back to the one man with the power, the wisdom, he needed and a love he still trusted. His Godfather Corleone. – The Godfather, Mario Puzo, 1969