100 Days of Happiness
By Fausto Brizzi
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? For Lucio Battistini, it’s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have—by making every moment count
Womanizing, imperfect but lovable Lucio Battistini has been thrown out of the house by his wife and is sleeping in the stock room of his father-in-law’s bombolini bakery when he learns he has inoperable cancer. So begins the last hundred days of Lucio’s life, as he attempts to care for his family, win back his wife (the love of his life and afterlife), and spend the next three months enjoying every moment with a zest he hasn’t felt in years. From helping his hopelessly romantic, widowed father-in-law find love, discovering comfort in enduring friendships, and finding new ones, Lucio becomes, at last, the man he’s always meant to be. In 100 epigrammatic chapters, one for each of Lucio’s remaining days on earth,100 Days of Happiness is as delicious as a hot doughnut and a morning cappuccino. Wistful, often hilarious, and always delectable, 100 Days of Happiness reminds us all to remember the preciousness of life and what matters most.
When I decided I wanted to read 100 Days of Happiness I thought it would probably be a sad tale of a man’s last days. It was not. I laughed more than I thought to cry. I loved the writing style of this wonderful novel. It is written in a style that had me feeling as if I was sitting around with the main character, Lucio Battistini, having some coffee and a doughnut. He is chatting with the reader, laughing, lamenting and even giving us time to write our own lists in the lined pages provided. He gave us time to get a snack, talked with us and I enjoyed his friendly conversation. Yes Lucio made some mistakes, stupid mistakes, but even when he describes them, he is self-depreciating to the point that I could not hold them against him. Dealing with death in such a calm and what can I say, a very pleasant manner was very effective.
Lucio had an affair, a stupid affair and has been kicked out of the family home. In a twist of fate he is living in his father-in-law’s bakery. This is where his story begins. As he goes through the daily grind regretting his plot in life, he learns he has 100 days to live. He is dying and there is nothing to be done about it. After trying chemo and regretting it, he decides to live his last 100 days in happiness. He takes us the reader with him as he tries to live the best he can in the time he has. We are introduced to wonderful characters along the way, his family, his best friends, his new friends. And as we take this journey with Lucio, we are also dropped in the middle of Italy with wonderful descriptive writing. Laughter and humor punctuate his last 100 days, although there is also plenty of sadness.
Lucio is a great character, intelligent in many ways and just a plain man in other. He drops in interesting tidbits of information in his “chats” with us, extolling the wonders of Da Vinci and other Italians. I have to say some of the translations were lost on me as I had no idea what they meant in English where I am sure they had more impact in Italian (the original language this was written in). I think this novel can be described in one quote that was very poignant. Lucio tells us Marcello Marchesi wrote “The important thing is to make sure that when death comes, it finds us still alive”. Lucio lived his last 100 days well, especially his last 20 or so. Does he make everything right before he dies, I am not sure, but he definitely tried. And he died on his own terms.
I loved the style of writing in this impressive book. Author Fausto Brizzi delivers and enjoyable tale which should be sad and depressing. It was not. I laughed throughout this tale. It was emotional however not distressing. When you think of a book detailing how a man tries to bring happiness to his last 100 days of life, you think you will be crying the whole way through. I did not, but I felt it the whole way through. It is entertaining, enlightening and handles this sad situation in a way that is pleasant and at times fun (actually a lot of times). I am not sure I can break down who would enjoy this book, but I know I did. It is a wonderful novel that I hope everyone gets the opportunity to read. I loved it.