I read ‘Pasta Mike’ for Rosie’s Book Review Team.
Mike O’Shea and Andy Cotto knew each other their entire lives. Born days apart on the same block, baptized in the same water, the two friends were inseparable growing up and into adulthood.
After celebrating their 40th birthdays together, Mike falls ill and dies shortly after. The impact on Andy is enormous, and he spirals into a depression that threatens everything he holds dear.
Through memory and support, Andy is able to reconcile his grief and appreciate the power of male friendship and the beauty of life.
Pasta Mike is a testimony to the bonds men share and the vulnerabilities beneath the stoic surface.
Pasta Mike is loosely based on the author’s long-term friendship with his childhood friend, Mike, and mixes fact with fiction to give a truly authentic story of love, loss, grief and recovery.
There are some gorgeous moments here, full of genuine feeling. The narrator’s sense of loss and bewilderment, the effect it has on those around him, his life and his addictions, go a long way towards showing the reader how grief can really have an impact, and shows too why we need to take those emotions seriously, be open about our feelings, and not be ashamed to grieve.
I enjoyed the wonderful descriptions of food – I’ve read previous books by this author and knowing that food would be involved here drew me to the book!
This is, however, a novella, and, as such, I don’t feel that there was really enough room to explore all these interesting and important themes completely. I wish the author had made this into a full-length novel – there is so much here that would benefit from that, particularly memories of childhood, the narrator’s marriage, and the realities of depression
So a really great read, well-written, authentic and emotional – but, in my opinion at least, a novella that was crying out to be a full-length novel.