Painting the Invisible Man Review
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Sometimes we have to face our past and the truth about those we love, no matter how painful it may be. Author Rita Schiano hides behind a fictional character, Anna Matteo, in order to freely explore her relationship with her father, as well as his association with the Mafia and his subsequent murder, in her novel, Painting the Invisible Man.

While researching a freelance article, Anna, a middle-aged business writer, inadvertently hits keys that take her to another site—articles about the murder trial of her father’s alleged killer, who was eventually acquitted. She’s compelled to dig deeper, bringing back memories of growing up with this Invisible Man—one minute you see him, the next minute, you don’t—and she’s forced to face the true man that he really was.

As a child, Anna lived vicariously through her father and actually looked up to him. He took her on shopping sprees and out for dessert. However, he abandoned her loving mother, who then had to work four jobs to make ends meet. She was the one who actually took care of Anna and her brother. As she uncovers her memories, she also realizes that her father often put her in grave danger, taking her around “friends” like Angelo Capraro, the one who allegedly pulled the trigger and riddled her father’s head and body with a round of bullets, and Joey Casella, the mob lawyer who allegedly ordered the hit.

  
 
Anna struggles with whether to write about her family and expose the truth about her childhood. Her alter ego, author Rita Schiano chose to write as Anna Matteo not only to avoid the possible criticism of embellishing the truth, as is often the case with authors writing memoirs, but also to give those close to her some level of privacy.

While I enjoy novels that allow me to escape, I also appreciate those that force me to look at my own life. In reading Painting the Invisible Man, I learned about the Mafia’s impact on the lives of those near the bottom of its hierarchy, and I found it fascinating. I also enjoyed the structure of the novel—as Anna uncovers a piece of information, she flashes back to that event in her childhood, forcing her to deal with the reality of it. Schiano keeps readers in suspense until the very end as to how Anna will handle the information she uncovers—including the current whereabouts of those involved—as well as how she reconciles her relationships with those who are still in her life. I won’t give anything away, but there was one event in particular that really kept me on the edge.

However, what affected me most was how Painting the Invisible Man shows readers that ,eventually, we all have to look inside our families and ourselves to discover how our past has affected our lives and formed our decisions.

Painting the Invisible Man may persuade you to reflect on your own past and open yourself up to the possibility of making a change for the future. You may even find the strength to forgive and let go.

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