Book Review: Sweet Dreams, Little One by Massimo Gramellini

Jess McGlynnMay 2, 2014
Sweet Dreams, Little One by Massimo Gramellini
The story of a lifelong search for happiness

This book is an autobiographical account of Massimo Gramellini’s life following the death of his mother when he was nine years old.  We follow Massimo as he traverses through childhood into adulthood, constantly searching for the reason his mother would ‘leave’ him so soon. 

Although I found it slow going initially, the book does take you on an emotional adventure from the heartbreaking through to the laugh out loud.  In fact, there were several moments when I was crying and laughing at the same time much to the bemusement of my Other Half.

I think the element which really sells this book is the fact that it is a true story, and although at times I was so caught up in the story I would forget that it really happened, for me as a mother, reading Massimo’s confusion and hurt and seeing how the loss of his mother impacted on his entire life really struck home.  There is such a naivety to Massimo when he is first told the news and he goes round in circles wondering what he did wrong to make his mother want to leave, and what he can do to bring her back.

Massimo also talks about a regular presence in his life, ‘Belfagor’…Belfagor is basically his grief and although Massimo goes through life appearing semi-normal on the surface, every now and then Belfagor rears his head and draws Massimo’s attention away from those around him and into inner turmoil, reliving all the emotions of his mother’s abandonment of him etc.  I thought that Belfagor was an interesting way to depict the grief which was obviously undealt with and eating Massimo up.  It takes a long time but eventually, someone does come into Massimo’s life who helps him to understand the way he is feeling but it is incredibly sad that someone could feel this way for such a long time.

I really enjoyed the book, the chapters are fairly short and it is concisely told and easy to read.  Although there were times when I wished someone had arrived in Massimo’s life earlier and told him to get a grip, it is still a beautifully told story which mixes tragedy with amusing anecdotes.  It will certainly stay with me for a long time and at the very end, when we finally see Massimo’s understanding and comprehension of his mother’s death…well, I won’t ruin it for anyone who wishes to read but it is certainly insightful.

It’s easy to see why this book has proven so popular, having been translated into 14 languages with over a million copies sold.  I would definitely recommend it (just have the tissues ready!) and am pleased to say that I have two copies to give away!

If you’d like to enter then please use the rafflecopter below.  UK entrants only please.  The giveaway will end on Friday 30 March and two winners will be generated at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book for the purpose of the review however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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  • Jo welsh

    May 2, 2014 at 12:38

    The mouse proof kitchen

  • chantelle hazelden

    May 2, 2014 at 12:50

    I previously reviewed this book and I was pleasantly surprised by it 🙂 do feel free to link up to my book linky #ReadWithMe too over on MamaMummyMum 🙂 #booklovemay

  • Tracey Peach

    May 2, 2014 at 12:59

    I Just Finished Last Night The Eye Collector By Sebastian Fitzek, brilliant book because the story is told in a different way

  • olga

    May 2, 2014 at 17:15

    Nice review, will b added to my long "to reads list". Im reading "Arch of Triumph" by Erich Maria Remarque at the moment…second time already. Just love this book!!!

  • Tracy K Nixon

    May 2, 2014 at 17:46

    The Island by Victoria Hislop

  • clairdownham

    May 2, 2014 at 18:05

    im not reading one at the moment

  • kathycakebread

    May 2, 2014 at 19:16

    the tales of a new york taxi driver

  • sarah diane rees

    May 2, 2014 at 19:36

    lovers rock

  • laura stewart

    May 3, 2014 at 07:15

    The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – brilliant so far

  • sbroadley

    May 3, 2014 at 16:51

    Going back on old PG Wodehouse – Jeeves and Wooster

  • Sarah Spencer

    May 4, 2014 at 13:41

    Walden and Other Writings – Henry David Thoreau

  • Victoria MyLittleLBlog

    May 4, 2014 at 19:42

    sounds like a good read, sorry wont be entering the comp, i guess as most of our families are with mums and dads and children, sometimes its hard for us to imagine how children may feel when parents separate or when one parent leaves.abuses them

  • Kelly Brittle

    May 6, 2014 at 09:22

    i have just finished reading lost for words

  • Caroline Blaza

    May 7, 2014 at 06:56

    Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. Reading for the second time

  • stacey turner

    May 7, 2014 at 13:34

    im not reading one right now

  • Lara Davis

    May 7, 2014 at 19:40

    Not reading any at mo

  • Phyllis Ellett

    May 8, 2014 at 11:02

    Thirteen Days to Midnight, Patrick Carman

  • lynn heath

    May 9, 2014 at 12:15

    I am not reading anything at the moment – But this did remind me that I need to take the kids library books back today!!!!!

  • Abigail Edkins

    May 10, 2014 at 11:34

    the beach…again

  • Janine Phillips

    May 10, 2014 at 15:31

    Take Mum Out

  • jamie banks

    May 10, 2014 at 16:57

    i am not reading any book as i have finished them and need a new one to read xx

  • Michelle Banks

    May 10, 2014 at 18:43

    oliver twist

  • Lola

    May 10, 2014 at 21:35

    The Perfect Match- Katie Fforde

  • Tina Lawton

    May 11, 2014 at 00:48

    I'm not reading at the minute, have been very recently 🙁

  • Mickie Bull

    May 12, 2014 at 08:52

    TaraShea Nesbit – The Wives Of Los Alamos

  • Tammy Tudor

    May 12, 2014 at 09:59

    The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit

  • Kay Panayi

    May 12, 2014 at 14:07

    im reading big bad wolf by james patterson

  • Hazel Christopher

    May 12, 2014 at 15:29

    The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden

  • Emma Baker

    May 13, 2014 at 10:47

    The hunger Games – the mockingjay

  • Lisa Chappell

    May 14, 2014 at 10:52

    50 shades of grey <3

  • Spanner15

    May 16, 2014 at 14:22

    About to start the 'Maze Runner' 🙂

  • Lauren O

    May 16, 2014 at 17:31

    The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley

  • michelle muirhead

    May 18, 2014 at 11:55

    Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French

  • kerry day

    May 19, 2014 at 18:54

    Looking forward to reading it

  • Keith Hunt

    May 24, 2014 at 18:59

    Michael Connelly The Black Echo

  • Richard Randall

    May 24, 2014 at 19:04

    The Telling Eror by Sophie Hannah.

  • Colin Gault

    May 24, 2014 at 20:17


  • Leigh Marea Boyle

    May 24, 2014 at 23:11

    the hunger games for the 100th time =)

  • Solange

    May 25, 2014 at 03:41

    Gone Girl

  • Holly Edmundson

    May 25, 2014 at 09:07

    50 shades of grey 😉 x

  • Cindy Gillespie

    May 25, 2014 at 15:36

    I'm reading 'Stuart – A life backwards' a biography about a man who is a thief, hostage-taker, psycho and street raconteur and reads backwards from the man he turned out to be to when he was a twelve year old boy – I cannot put it down

  • Stephen Little

    May 26, 2014 at 15:28

    Nothing At All by N. O. Body

  • Emily CD

    May 26, 2014 at 21:36

    In Search of Respect – Philippe Bourgois. It's an ethnography about crack dealers in El Barrio, East Harlem

  • Jodie Harvey

    May 26, 2014 at 22:29

    one child – torey haden

  • Karen Barrett

    May 27, 2014 at 10:35

    Tripwire by Lee Child

  • Sheri Darby

    May 27, 2014 at 20:32

    Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

  • Samantha J Freeman

    May 28, 2014 at 07:32

    A Hat Full of Sky – Terry Pratchett

  • patanne1

    May 28, 2014 at 13:41

    More Than Bananas by Glenn Myers

  • embabes

    May 28, 2014 at 14:01

    Book?! I have a ten month old who's into absolutely everything! I haven't read a book in ages 🙁

  • sarahfleck

    May 28, 2014 at 14:11

    A DIY book.

  • esme mccrubb

    May 28, 2014 at 14:55


  • Fran Morgan

    May 28, 2014 at 14:57

    The Origin and Deeds of the Goths; Jordanes

  • Georgia Keogh

    May 28, 2014 at 15:04

    The Land of the Painted Caves by Jean M Auel, the last book in the Earth's Children series (I feel sad that it's the last book).

  • Clare Scanlan

    May 28, 2014 at 15:34

    Dr Thorne by Trollope

  • Trudi Louise

    May 28, 2014 at 18:22

    An Officer & A Spy – Robert Harris

  • Sarah Rees

    May 28, 2014 at 19:08

    Petals on the wind

  • Diana

    May 28, 2014 at 20:37

    The hunger Games 🙂

  • Lani Nash

    May 28, 2014 at 20:40

    Fool's Assasin by Robin HObb

  • Jackie Chapman

    May 28, 2014 at 20:44

    The thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

  • Holly Boyd

    May 28, 2014 at 22:50

    Mary Poppins

  • karen dixon

    May 29, 2014 at 11:30

    jack reacher seriers

  • Melissa Lee

    May 29, 2014 at 19:53

    The Stand by Stephen King

  • amy

    May 29, 2014 at 22:18

    karen rose did you miss me

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