AUTHOR: Wilton Barnhardt
PUBLISHER: Futura Publishings
REVIEWED BY: Bob Kisiki
LET me suggest: The day you chance upon Emma Who Saved My Life, please do control your emotions, lest you end up making rash decisions like dropping this whale of a novel, thinking it a silly comedy about an even sillier boy growing up on the streets and in the clubs of raunchy New York.
Gil Freeman doesnâ€™t want much out of life â€“ just fun with all manner of girls: 1. The-Good-For-Only-One-Thing Girl, who is only good for one thing; 2. The-Youâ€™re-Like-A-Sister-To-Me Woman who is indeed like a sister to you and 3. The Quality Item. More on this one later, for she is the only one with a name to her, and Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll be delighted to meet her.
But before I introduce Emma â€“ The Quality Item â€“ let me point out that Gilâ€™s goal was only to lose his virginity but when he met Emma Gennaro, who was out to have a wild life â€“ without sex â€“ the stage was set for a unique romance. â€œShe was covered in flour (one got the impression more flour lingered in the air than even went into the pizza at Baldoâ€™s)â€¦â€
Thatâ€™s what she looked like the day they met â€“ through a go-between. Gil says of Emma: â€œJust think of an Italian-American girl who is not an immediate knockout, but five minutes or so after getting used to her, sheâ€™s quite striking, made very striking by her hand gestures and expressions which seem to take up all the space in the room. Give her ten minutes and youâ€™d be convinced she was a beautyâ€¦â€
So they link up, go places â€“ including hospital emergency rooms â€“ and by the end, Emma has saved Gilâ€™s brain from mediocrity, his life from wanton abuse and he has taught her to love â€“ truly.
What on earth can love not do?