Amerigo, a 7 year old boy, lives with his mom in post WWII ravaged southern Italy. His mother decides to send him, with other children, to northern Italy, where he will be well fed and cared for, for 6 months. Although Amerigo is hesitant, he is a brave little boy who joins many others on his new adventure, by train. He finds himself living with a wonderful woman, and sharing his life with part of her very giving family, where he receives gifts of love and music.
Amerigo's birth mom has led anything but a beautiful life, losing her other son and living in poverty. She doesn't know how to love Amerigo. Upon his return, he easily sees the differences between the love he receives from his temporary family and from his mom, who just can't love him the way she should, and is brave enough to take the train again, by himself, to live with his adoptive family.
Years later, he returns to his home town, and comes to some poignant realizations about his life.
I really enjoyed this book, based on a true story. I fell in love with Amerigo, a very funny young, innocent boy. I laughed out loud several times as he is the narrator, and the writer does such an excellent job of conveying Amerigo's thoughts and assumptions. So very heartwarming. From page one, I wanted the best for Amerigo.
I did feel that the writing, as Viola Ardone conveys Amerigo's life as an adult, is a bit disjointed and I lost a sense of who Amerigo was.
Overall, this was a sweet, wonderful story based on true happenings after WWII and how it affected families in Italy. I believe it will stay with me for a very long time, despite the fact that I read many, many books.