Strega Giovani, the award for the best review goes to a student from Locri


By John

Federica Pitone, a student at the “Zaleuco” scientific high school in Locri, won the Strega Giovani Award for the best review of the novel “Cose che non si narrato” by Antonella Lattanzi (Einaudi). The girl, who attends III A of the Locride high school, also obtained a scholarship offered by Bper Banca. Federica, originally from Siderno, accompanied to the ceremony by prof. Rosella Fontana, read her review in front of the author who thanked her for the intensity of her words. Then dedications were exchanged; and Federica wrote to Lattanzi about her review: «Thank you for giving me my favorite book as well as a thousand tears».
It is the first time that the Zaleuco of Locri, led by the head teacher Carmela Rita Serafinoparticipates in the “Strega Giovani”, where ten students had the task of reading and reviewing the twelve finalist novels of the most important literary prize in Italy. Among the students of Zaleuco the talented Federica demonstrated her excellent critical skills and the sharpness of her gaze. «I thought I wouldn't win because before me another girl had read a very nice review. When they told me I had won I didn't expect it: my first reaction was to look for my parents and my teacher Rosella Fontana in the audience to confirm that it was all true. I attend the “biomedical curvature” course at Zaleuco because I would like to become a pediatrician”, says Federica who, however, has another dream in her drawer: “I would like to write a novel …”.
His review begins with the question “Why are you crying reading this book, what's so special about it?”, to which he responds by retracing, through feelings, the pages of the novel: «It is not one of the many books waiting to be read – writes Federica –, which bores you after a while, which does not reach your heart, with a sudden dry or barely touching you. The story that the narrator tells, her story, is something completely different, it is so strong that it comes out of the pages, that it clings to your sensitivity, shattering it, without even asking permission. With each chapter her pain becomes closer and closer, sometimes soft, sometimes brutal.”
Federica talks about her emotions as a reader: «I imagined living it first hand, of having the same destiny too, of not knowing how to live with it; this is the power of the book: it infects you with its suffering, bringing it inside you, leaving you the task of welcoming it. The narrator allows you to visit her feelings of guilt, to see yourself in them, to understand her feeling part of what took away her natural dream of being a mother, the belief that she deserves everything that is happening to her ».
Federica hits the heart of the narrative: «What you have in front of you is no longer a simple book, it is a woman and what was taken from her. A woman who lost her children, who suffers for not having protected them, for having given priority to her career; she tries not to think about what their names would have been, their current ages…». And Federica places emphasis on the main quality of Lattanzi's prose: «The hope that she knew how to be ruthless, the sincerity that she forces herself to maintain in her writing, make you believe you are at her side, as if you were listening to her, as she opens those doors closed for a long time. So, at a certain point, you feel capable of reaching her, through reading her, directly, of being able to dry a tear, as if you were her friend. She has only silence around her, she feels anger, she would like to talk about it, while, to keep her company in that pain, it is only her blood that comes out of her body, undaunted, and the attempt to measure its quantity. And so, when for fear of not being understood, she prefers to withdraw into herself, what remains is loneliness.”
And he concludes by speaking to the reader: «I know well what it means to have a thousand things to say, there on the tip of the tongue, happy to be welcomed, only to be suffocated. It would hurt too much to receive silence. Now, tell me, do you understand why?”.