Two Daughters and other ferocious animals (2019) by Leo Ortolani – Book review
Two daughters and other ferocious animals is a candidate to become a fundamental piece in the books to be recommended to anyone interested in the topic of international adoption, which allows the reader to immerse themselves in the emotional and metacognitive implications of a complex topic that can be addressed even in an ironic key.
It begins with this dedication and with the image of two parents who observe from the bedroom door two little girls sleeping exhausted on the bed the book Two daughters and other ferocious animals, which deals with international adoption, with a different eye than conventional texts on the subject. .
Writing about adoption is never easy: the notions and issues involved are really complex and require a broad preliminary study ranging from the social to the psychological aspects, passing through the economic and bureaucratic implications. If Leo Ortolani does it, then, at first we smile and think of a game.
The author of the text is in fact one of the most important Italian cartoonists, award-winning, with an ironic and pungent style. He is known mainly for the Rat-Man series (1995-2017), as well as for Friday 12 (1996-2004), Cinzia (2018), the most recent Dinosaurs who made it (2020) and numerous other parodies.
Due Figlie was initially published in 2011 and then gets to know a new life thanks to BAO Publishing which in 2019 publishes a new version, enriched with unpublished and more recent material.
In the text, Leo Ortolani comes out of the role of great cartoonist, courageously showing that of Caterina’s husband and father, of Johanna and Lucy Maria, his two adoptive daughters of Colombian origin, who arrived in Italy at the end of what was declared from the very beginning pages like “the adventure of a lifetime”.
The adventure in question is an epistolary novel, characterized by the e-mails that were sent to a group of friends and relatives during the trip to Colombia in 2010, where the author and his wife had gone to complete the process of adoption. The structure is therefore dictated by the publication of original material initially designed to remain private within the couple’s circle of acquaintances. Just this aspect, the spontaneity, the naturalness and the unfiltered “truth”, turns out to be absolutely winning and today the text represents a really precious tool for future adoptive parents who are preparing to embark on the tortuous path of international adoption.
The entire narrative arc develops on the thin line of irony, which allows the writer to talk about himself, his emotions, ideas and beliefs punctually distorted by the everyday life lived with the two “ferocious animals”, without slipping into rhetoric which too often is hidden behind the texts on the subject.
In addition to the girls and the parental dyad, the true protagonists of the book are the emotions of the author: the anger for a pre-adoptive path that is sometimes difficult to digest due to the timing, methods and economic costs of the procedure; the amazement in observing the sudden changes in one’s emotional state caused by the behavior of the girls; love, which shines through on every page, not only for the gestures of affection, but above all for the small defects, the whims, which day after day reveal the lively temperament of the girls; the frustration, which is never hidden, due to difficulties with the language, physical fatigue, having to learn in a few days to be a parent; fear of not succeeding and gratitude, for his wife and perhaps for himself,
The text is therefore a candidate to become a fundamental piece within the books to be recommended to anyone interested in the topic of international adoption, which allows the reader to immerse themselves in the emotional and metacognitive implications of a complex topic that can also be addressed in key ironic.