Review: I'm Not Scared

I'm Not Scared I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was interesting to note how accurate the film worked with regards to the book. Niccolo Ammaniti’s I’m Not Scared follows a young boy, Michele Amitrano and his life in a small rural Italian home. Told through Michele’s eyes, the story creates a credible experience of dealing with a limiting childhood in terms of material goods and actual friends. He has little choice but to play with his younger sister and the few children in the village and though he never says it, he’s clearly frustrated by it. When Michele discovers a young boy of equal size and age locked in a underground room connected to an abandoned house, the story takes a dark turn that brims with suspense coupled with curiosity. Both reader and Michele wonder who this boy is and while some of Michele’s conclusions are obviously wrong, we as the reader can understand why or how a 9-year-old’s imagination can make such connections. And that’s what drives the story; Ammaniti’s skill comes from recreating the world through Michele’s eyes; a pair of eyes that doesn’t believe in monsters…except when he does. He’s been hardened by both life and the older children of the village but that no less makes him susceptible to his vivid imagination. In many ways, this book reminds me of Stephen King’s novella, The Body (also fairly well adapted into the movie, Stand By Me) in that there’s an earnestness with which the author reminds the reader of life in before adulthood, but unlike The Body, it’s not a “coming of age story.”

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