One Hundred Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi

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One Hundred Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Lesley Mason
Reviewed by Lesley Mason
Summary: A gentle and life affirming diary of a guy who knows he's going to die, but chooses to really live for the time he has left.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: August 2015
Publisher: Picador
ISBN: 978-1447269014

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Sometimes Serendipity coerces Fate into making sure you read a particular book. I picked One Hundred Days… off the shelf on the back of the blurb from an author of a book I haven't actually read. I confused the title of their book with one I adored. Make of that what you will, I'm going to call it a happy accident, because this is a book many of us really need to read.

For me, with a brother seriously ill in hospital and concerns about my own well-being, it was not the best time to read it, but to be fair I'd have wept anyway.

Lucio Battistini is a very happily married man. He just didn't know exactly how happy until he messed it up by having an affair. With impeccable timing, he managed to do this immediately before discovering he has only 3 months to live.

As wake-up calls go, this is the big one and he rises to the challenge of making the last 100 days of his life as happy as possible. He sets about trying to get his wife to forgive him, but also about making sure that the memories he creates for his children during those days are the kind of memories they'll want to cherish.

He has co-conspirators in this exercise. Two of his oldest friends – with him they were The Three Musketeers, pranksters extraordinaire – and, perhaps surprisingly, his father-in-law.

Don't believe all of the blurb. The book is neither outrageous nor hilarious, but it is gentle and life-affirming. It's unlikely to make you roar with laughter, but it will make you smile with delight, right up to the moments when it jerks an unanticipated tear. It is a reminder of all the simple pleasures in life: doughnuts, your team winning against the odds, a smile from your child, a sunset, a prank, being loved, relay-race-story-telling (I thought we were the only people who did that).

It's also full of the mistakes we make, how easy it is to get things wrong and how hard to then put them right. It is about leaving, but also about being left behind.

Lucio has cancer. He is going to die. Slowly and painfully, unless he chooses to do otherwise. Telling his last hundred days in diary form he recounts the progress of his disease matter-of-factly: pain doubles him up, he needs to find somewhere alone to cry, although it is he who is leaving he lists the things about people he will miss. But most of that isn't the point… the point is that he has chosen to chronicle the small glory of life.

There are some wonderful notions in here, that I need to leave you to discover, but the author in the bookshop and the Chitchat Shop are two that I would so much love to be real, somewhere.

One hundred days, one hundred chapters. In most of them nothing very dramatic happens. Some of them leave him with little to say. If you've ever tried to keep a diary you will know that there are days you can sum up in two paragraphs – and so he does – just as there are other days which aren't about what happen on that day but what that day makes you remember about some other time, days that provoke memories, and memories that remind you of how few opportunities we might have to create new ones.

If you have any soul at all this will make you stop and (mentally at least) list the things you love about your friends, family, the world around you. We should stop and do that for a minute or so every day – even if we don't have such an impetus to need to write it down.

If you like this, you'll love Lost and Found by Brooke Davis

Booklists.jpg One Hundred Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi is in the Top Ten General Fiction Books for 2015.

Buy One Hundred Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy One Hundred Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy One Hundred Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy One Hundred Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi at Amazon.com.


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