Monday, January 4, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: “Abramo’s Gift” by Donald Greco

If there is one thing that history has shone us it is that trying to run away from your past never works. No matter where we try to go or what we do, there will always be some remnant or memory that lingers from the time that we think we want to forget.

I was reminded of this when I recently finished the book Abramo’s Gift by author Donald Greco. His book, though set in the early 1900s, rings of so many lessons that we can and should learn from today. Abramo Cardone is a man who has experienced the loss of his beloved wife and child and has set off on a journey from his homeland of Italy to the Americas, namely Ohio, to begin anew. Still struggling with grief and unsure of where his live is headed, Abramo is faced with new challenges in the land of promise that will again cause him to love and risk loss at the sake of what he knows to be the right course of action.

You see, Abramo comes face to face with the reality that no matter where you are, there will be individuals who are hurting, will experience hurt or are intent on causing hurt. Case in point is Molly, a young woman full of life and promise who is violated and left with the knowledge that because of no fault of her own she might not be able to have children. While discussing this fate with her father, Greco gives us a look at the painful realty for so many who have been abused and have to face the aftermath. “You are not damaged goods, Moll,” her father says to her. “It won’t matter, Daddy,” Molly responds. “It’ll matter to the good ones,” her father assures.” And some may want you only for children, but the very best will want you only because of you…Only you. And that will be the beginning of God’s restitution to you.”

What a beautiful passage, and it is made even more real to Molly as she remembers that the man who was there for her after the assault—Abramo—just wanted to help with no thought of himself. Through the life of this woman and a series of events that would cause his own life to be in danger as well, an important lesson is learned by our main character: You don’t want to forget the past, just learn to use it as you move forward to help others and heal yourself. Abramo also realizes that if you are so blinded by what you have lost, you might not see what is available in front of you.

Abramo’s Gift is really the author’s gift to the world when it comes to a guide that we can use when we feel as though no one has gone through what we have. It helps us to face the very things that might be holding us back and gives us the strength to use our own experiences to be a blessing to someone around us.

--- Reviewed by Cyrus Webb for Conversations Book Club and Conversations Magazine

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