NoonJanuary 16, 2023 – 09:51
The Neapolitan writer tells himself, from his first high school sweetheart, “I’d like to see her again”, to the pride of having raised his children almost alone. But do they read his books? “No, they say I write too much and they fear I get tired”
Of Mirella Armiero
“As a boy I was a commonplace nerd, I had all high grades and tried to pass the homework to make you like me.” Maurizio de Giovanni is not one to boast. Both of his millions of books sold and of his personal successes, let alone school memories. Yet the Neapolitan writer was almost a legend, in the prestigious Jesuit school, the Pontano Institute in Naples, which he attended from elementary school to high school (obviously obtained with honors). And he was also very popular with girls.
“Her name was Valeria.”
Now maybe she’s a fan? Do you follow her on social media?
“No, and I’m very sorry. I would gladly see her again…”
Let’s launch an appeal, then.
After school, de Giovanni began studying Law, but the sudden death of his father forced him to accelerate his entry into the world of work, in the bank.
Have you ever regretted that job?
«No, but it was nice because I met so many people, it was interesting. Then they sent me to Sicily for nine years».
And thereit is started another great adventure… marriage and two children.
«The first was born when I was 28, at the birth of the second I was 31».
“I would not say. Perhaps it is like this for young people today, they are waiting for more, for those times I felt ready ».
Life didn’t turn out quite as he expected, though. The marriage ended and the children grew up with their father.
«I start by saying I have an excellent relationship with my ex-wife and the children have an excellent relationship with their mother. But it went like this: after the divorce they came to live with me and then we moved to Naples. They were 8 and 11 years old. I was a “mammo”, it was the best part of my life. I am very proud of them: one is an orthopedic doctor and the other is an aerospace engineer».
How did he do it himself?
“I have to say thanks to their independent nature. It wasn’t difficult. I had a great help, a Ukrainian lady named Tania who cooked and stayed with them in the afternoon. Then I came along and put myself totally involved, for ten years in a row I never went out one night, never without them. I always listened in my sleep to understand if they called me, still today I don’t sleep well. I was terrified that they might call me and I wouldn’t hear them.”
Did Tania always cook?
“Absolutely yes. I am not capable of it. When she was on vacation we went to restaurants, especially the L tavernin Tilemy kids grew up there, still have a great bond with the managers. On Saturday nights we went to the cinema, saw two films in a row and ate pizza».
Was the mother missing?
«The connection was there, but she lived far away so it is clear that for many things I had to take care of myself. Especially during their adolescence; maybe if they had been two females I would have struggled more to understand them or I wouldn’t have made it. But I tried to always be available, even when shopping. But I’ve never given a punishment, I wouldn’t have felt like it. It was enough to show that I was sorry and they would regret anything.
Then came a new love, Paola, as readers know from many dedications in her books.
«Yes, but she had the intelligence not to want to replace her mother. And they have welcomed it very well ».
Do your children read all of your novels?
“No, they say I write too much. But they are happy with my work, even if they worry, they fear it will tire me, especially since I had a heart attack. Then, when they have some discussion and want certainty, they say to each other: swear on papa’s life. It makes me tenderit means that for them there is nothing more important».
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January 16, 2023 | 09:51
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Maurizio de Giovanni: «Being a “mammo” was the best part of my life»