Excerpt from I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

I'm Not Scared

by Niccolò Ammaniti

I'm Not Scared
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2003, 200 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2004, 208 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Then there was me, Michele. Michele Amitrano. And I was third that time, yet again. I had been going well, but now, thanks to my sister, I was at a standstill.

I was debating whether to turn back or leave her there, when I found myself in fourth place. On the other side of the ridge that duffer Remo Marzano had overtaken me. And if I didn't start climbing again straight away Barbara Mura would overtake me too.

That would be awful. Overtaken by a girl. And a fat one too.

Barbara Mura was scrambling up on all fours like a demented sow. All sweaty and covered in earth.

'Hey, aren't you going back for your little sister? Didn't you hear her? She's hurt herself, poor little thing,' she grunted happily. For once it wasn't going to be her who paid the forfeit.

'I'm going, I'm going . . . And I'll beat you too.' I couldn't admit defeat to her just like that.

I turned and started back down, waving my arms and whooping like a Sioux. My leather sandals slipped on the wheat. I fell down on my backside a couple of times.

I couldn't see her. 'Maria! Maria! Where are you?'

'Michele . . .'

There she was. Small and unhappy. Sitting on a ring of broken stalks. Rubbing her ankle with one hand and holding her glasses in the other. Her hair was stuck to her forehead and her eyes were moist. When she saw me she twisted her mouth and swelled up like a turkey.

'Michele?'

'Maria, you've made me lose the race! I told you not to come, damn you.' I sat down. 'What have you done?'

'I tripped up. I hurt my foot and . . .' She threw her mouth wide open, screwed up her eyes, shook her head and exploded into a wail: 'My glasses! My glasses are broken!'

I could have thumped her. It was the third time she had broken her glasses since school had finished. And every time, who did mama blame?

'You've got to look after your sister, you're her big brother.'

'Mama, I . . .'

'I don't want to hear any of your excuses. It hasn't sunk into your head yet, but I don't find money in the vegetable garden. The next time you break those glasses I'll give you such a hiding . . .'

They had snapped in the middle, where they had already been stuck together once before. They were a write-off.

Meanwhile my sister kept on crying.

'Mama . . . She'll be cross . . . What are we going to do?'

'What else can we do? Stick them together with Scotch tape. Up you get, come on.'

'They look horrible with Scotch tape. Really horrible. I don't like them.'

I put the glasses in my pocket. Without them my sister couldn't see a thing, she had a squint and the doctor had said she would have to have an operation before she grew up. 'Never mind. Up you get.'

She stopped crying and started sniffing. 'My foot hurts.'

'Where?' I kept thinking of the others, they must have reached the top of the hill ages ago. I was last. I only hoped Skull wouldn't make me do too tough a forfeit. Once when I had lost a bike race he had made me run through nettles.

'Where does it hurt?'

'Here.' She showed me her ankle.

'You've twisted it. It's nothing. It'll soon stop hurting.'

I unlaced her trainer and took it off very carefully. As a doctor would have done. 'Is that better?'

'A bit. Shall we go home? I'm terribly thirsty. And mama . . .'

She was right. We had come too far. And we had been out too long. It was way past lunchtime and mama would be on the lookout at the window.

I wasn't looking forward to our return home.

But who would have thought it a few hours earlier.

Excerpted from I'm Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti. Copyright Niccolò Ammaniti 2002 all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Canongate Publishing. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.

Translated from the Italian by Jonathan Hunt.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.