Friday, February 17, 2017

Full of Life by John Fante

When I really love an author, I try to find out who inspires the author because chances are very good I'll love their inspiration as well.

When I found at the Charles Bukowski was inspired by John Fante, I picked up a few of Fante's books and started reading. I, once again, show my skill for picking books out of order because I don't realize they are a series and read Ask the Dust right off. Way back in 2006, I remember enjoying the story a great deal but wondering how Bukowski was influenced by Fante.

I found Full of Life in my stacks and decided to get back to Fante. Almost 10 years later, here's what I see now: Fante is a storyteller and the story is every day life. In the three books I've now read, Fante shows us his life as a struggling writer who finds some success. I do feel, now, that Fante and Bukowski are branches on the same tree (maturity on my part? who knows).

Full of Life gives us a snippet of Fante's life with his very pregnant and emotional wife, Joyce. An atheist, something about having a baby turns her to Roman Catholicism, and she insists on John joining her. Already a lapsed Catholic, John doesn't immediately run back to church.

By this time, Fante has sold some books and has some money. He also, unfortunately, has bought a house with termites. He fetches his father, Nick, to help fix the damaged flooring. Nick is a dramatic curmudgeon who truly loves his son but gives absolutely no end of grief to Fante.

So here we go. Basic life as told by Fante. No explosions. No mysteries to solve. No plot, really, to speak of. It's a book, and author, worth reading.

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