Frank Romano tells the story of his youth and his attempts to find himself in “Storm Over Morocco.” For quite a while I wondered why exactly he chose to write this book and tell this story, what precisely he was trying to say or accomplish. I have finally decided that telling this story is his attempt to cleanse his soul and lift his burdens, along the lines of Jeannette Walls or Julie Gregory writing memoirs of their childhood and their messed up parents.
Although this book is the story of Romano’s disastrous trip to Morocco, I felt he could have quite easily have been written about his messed up childhood, since, and I don’t mean to get into too much pop psychology, he clearly had one. Romano’s entire trip seemed to be characterized by dramatic swings between desperately needing love and affection and being completely distrustful and paranoid about everyone he encountered. I became repeatedly distracted from the story he was actually telling to wonder about the story he wasn’t telling about how he came to be both so needy and so distrustful.
Romano writes well, and definitely infuses his words with his feelings. The first five chapters or so, even before he left on his journey, were written with such intensity that I was only able to read a chapter or two at a time. It took me a while to truly get into this book, but by the end I was caught up in the story.
Although I did eventually get caught up in the story, it was hard for me to truly enjoy it. As I stated earlier, what I would really have liked to have read is the story of Romano’s childhood in order to figure out how he ended up as he did. In addition, I was too busy yelling at the book, “No! Don’t do THAT! That’s a terrible idea! Listen to your friends!” etc. I don’t do well with people who do really dumb things, which Romano did in spades in his trip. However, I did like the book for its semi-insider’s view of Moroccan culture in the 1970s. If you’re the kind of person who can watch people do stupid things in books or in movies without yelling at them, then this book could be very interesting.