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Reviewed by Keith Julius for Readers' Favorite
"When I met her for the first time, I knew straight away that she was the woman of my life." So states Tommaso at the beginning of Her Name Was Aprile by Elisa Barbaro. Tommaso is certain Paola is the woman he is destined to marry. His dreams are shattered, however, when he discovers Paola is married. The fact that he is still in nursery school, and the woman is his teacher and twenty years his senior, does little to alleviate the pain he feels. Thus begins Tommaso's quest for the woman of his life. He shares the adventure with his parents, who both work in the local hospital, and his brother, Matteo. But mostly he turns to his grandmother, who resides with the family in a small Sicilian town close to Messina. A ray of sunshine with a ready smile and a winning personality, Tommaso's grandmother is the one he turns to most often, sharing the love he feels as he falls head over heels with a string of women that he is destined to leave behind him, even though at the time he is certain each is the woman he is meant to spend eternity with.
Elisa Barbaro presents a lighthearted tale in Her Name Was Aprile. I enjoyed this book immensely. Barbaro's style is unpretentious and simple, to the point where you feel like you are conversing with an old friend you are comfortable with, and sharing familiar stories with one another. Relying on a wry sense of humor, the author follows Tommaso as he grows older yet not necessarily wiser, still searching for the elusive girl of his dreams. You can't help but relax when reading this story. The descriptions are sparse, never dragging the narrative down with unnecessary detail, but vivid enough to leave a lasting impression of the people and places Tommaso encounters as he grows up to be man. An enjoyable telling from start to finish, Her Name Was Aprile is the type of story that will leave you smiling and feeling good about life and love and the foibles we all encounter growing up.