This is a memoir of, in the author’s own words “a love that was more than a love” — the story of the teenaged Joseph N. Ferri and Marilyn, a young woman he meets at a Friday night dance.
From the beginning, the two believe themselves soul mates. But the romance is plagued from the first date when a speeding driver clips Ferri’s motorcycle, breaking Marilyn’s leg. Marilyn’s parents order her to stay away from Ferri, but the two manage to continue their new relationship through late-night phone calls, notes secreted in and out by friends, and clandestine meetings.
If first loves are typically overly sweet and thick with drama, this young romance is doubly so: “During our conversation on Friday, August 13, 1965, having embraced the extraordinary scope and reality of pure love,” writes the author, “I boldly proposed my life and love to Marilyn, and she accepted … In the darkness of that night, two people holding telephones … wept tears of profound joy.”
Despite a distance from these events of nearly 50 years, Ferri still writes with the fervor of a love-struck young man — and that is often his undoing. The constant declarations of the uncommon depth of their love and the repeated references to love songs and poetry quickly become overkill and even the dreaded “purple prose.” Yet, when Ferri writes about his teenage exploits, such as boating an unknown number of miles with no life jackets or navigation system, the story’s interest picks up. And the question of what becomes of this romance, particularly later in the book, is enough to keep readers engaged.
Ferri obviously put a great deal of thought and effort into this story, but his heavy-handed style greatly undermines the work. As such, the memoir is likely to be of interest to friends, family and perhaps some like-minded romantic souls of that bygone era.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.