BOOK: I’m Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti (2004)

Nine year-old Michele Amitrano lives in a run-down little village in Italy with his younger sister, devoted mother, and gruff, distant father. One day, while out riding bikes with his friends, Michele gets separated from the group and stumbles across a pit that contains what appears to be the dead body of a little boy about his age. Baffled as to what to do, Michele jumps back on his bike and pedals home, not saying a single word about the body to his friends.

Later that night, Michele tries to tell his father about his discovery, but when his dad just brushes him off, he gives up.  And yet. . . he can’t forget what he’s seen.  All night long, he replays the events of the afternoon over and over in his mind, and as soon as possible the next day, he returns to the pit to take a second look.

And that’s when he discovers the boy is actually alive.  Weak and disoriented, but alive.

Michele immediately begins to smuggle him food and water, trying to find out who he is, where he came from, how he got there, what happened to him. The boy’s story of a kidnapping and ransom are too much for Michele’s nine year-old mind to process at first, but as his story unfolds, Michele comes to the horrifying conclusion that nearly everyone in the town is involved — including his own father.  Childishly unaware of the limitations his age and size might impose on his ability to become the boy’s “guardian angel,” Michele, without a moment’s hesitation, decides to risk everything to save his life.

This short novel is a gripping story about the vagaries of the little-kid mind, the earnest bravado with which children confront adult situations, and the unique, self-preservingly-incomplete way that kids process inconceivable information. This novel was made into an Italian film several years ago that got pretty good reviews, and I’ll definitely be tracking down a copy of it as soon as possible.  Can’t wait to see how this story plays out in film, so watch for a review coming soon!  And in the meantime, if you’re in the mood for a tight little thriller, you need go no further.



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2 Responses to “BOOK: I’m Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti (2004)”

  1. Mark W Bryan Says:


    One of my all-time faves. (the movie & soundtrack) It’s a beautifully filmed and scored film.

  2. Tatjana Says:

    This book is a must, absoluely thrilling.

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