Top critical review
A terrific tale; but it's told better in the films than in the book.
on 1 June 2016
OK, many people think this is a classic book and they love it; that's fine. I'm not one of them. It's always difficult going against the flow, so let me explain why.
I came to the book having watched the films many times over the decades. The films - well, certainly the first two films, the third doesn't quite reach the same heights of excellence - are classics. Perhaps they led me to expect that the book would be a little different than it was, the classic book that the cover proclaims it to be. Having read it, I think the tale is terrific; just as it is in the films, a compelling story that keeps you drawn in. But the way the tale is told, and the standard of the writing, oh dear; that's where the problems lie for me.
Because the films are classy as well as classic I hoped for the same in the book. What i got was a standard of writing that wasn't very good, a few soft-porn style sex scenes that didn't add to the tale, a lot about one character, Johnny Fontane, that was omitted from the films for good reason, other characters that were tissue-thin and had nothing that made me believe in them, a lot of actions without foundation and always that pulp fiction-style writing. I was glad to finish it.
But, it works; and it works because the tale is a terrific one. It's told better in the films than on the page, I think, and when next I need a Godfather fix I'll go to the films rather than turn to the book which in truth, I'll probably never read again. If you love it then that's terrific; unfortunately, I'm not so keen.