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Io speriamo che me la cavo
One of the most popular books in Italy in recent years was written by an elementary school teacher, Marcello D'Orto, in the small town of Arzano near Naples. It was published in 1990 by Arnoldo Mondadori and is entitled Io speriamo che me la cavo. The title is, one, ungrammatical Italian and, two, the heartfelt wish of the schoolchild who wrote the essay from which the title of the book is taken. It says (in incorrect Italian): "I hope I pass". The entire book, in fact, is a collection of 60 such essays written by Mr. D'Orto's charges in the 10 years he was a teacher at the school.
In presenting the children's essays about, among other things, their favorite films, their dreams (real and metaphorical), where they would go if they could travel, their home lives, and what they would do if they were millionaires, D'Orto says, in the introduction, that he tried to avoid falling into the trap of "Eduardoism" (in reference to Eduardo de Filippo)—that is, to avoid an overly staged presentation of every poor schoolchild from Naples as if that child were a scugnizzo, a street urchin, trying out for a film. They're not, he says. They're just kids who write with the simple honesty and insight that children bring to their observations. The teacher left the ungrammatical title in its original form and, by and large, left most of the errors in the short essays intact. (In a translation, of course, that element is almost impossible to render, and, in what follows, I have not tried to do so.)