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Literature / Ti Prendo e ti Porto Via

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Ti prendo e ti porto via (English: I take you and steal you away) is a 1999 Italian novel by Niccolò Ammaniti.

It takes place in the fictional Italian town Ischiano Scalo and narrates the troubled lives of two different characters, Pietro, a shy and bullied boy, and Graziano, a Jaded Washout adult. The two don't even know each other for most of the book, but their stories are still connected. The book also features the point of views of many secondary characters, especially Pietro's teacher Flora Palmieri, who has a pivotal role in both Pietro's story and Graziano's story.

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Vasco Rossi's 2001 song of the same title is inspired by this book.


Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Pietro's father is a physically abusive alcoholic who blames Pietro for everything. On top of that, he doesn't even try to defend him when Pietro gets in trouble at school because of the Gang of Bullies, and actually hopes Pietro gets Held Back in School because he doesn't want him to continue his studies. At the end, Pietro is actually happy to go to the juvenile detention center, so he can stay away from his family.
    • It's briefly mentioned that school bully Pierini gets beaten up by his father, but Pierini doesn't really care.
  • Adults Are Useless: Pietro's parents, the school staff (except Flora, at least for a while), and the police are all portrayed as terrible and incompetent people. Even Flora becomes utterly useless after her Sanity Slippage. Briefly averted with Graziano in the scene where he rescues Pietro from the bullies.
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  • Betty and Veronica: Graziano has to choose between his on-again-off-again girlfriend Erica and his new Love Interest Flora. Erica is a mean and stupid Alpha Bitch who has emotionally abused him many times, Flora is a smart and well-meaning Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Graziano successfully defends Pietro when he was being beaten up by the bullies in the street. It's the only time Pietro and Graziano meet in the entire book.
  • Bully Magnet: Pietro is the favorite target of his class's Gang of Bullies.
  • Butter Face: Mimmo's girlfriend Patrizia has a hot body and an ugly face, although Mimmo sees her as beautiful and loves her the way she is. Her ex-boyfriend Bruno was ashamed of her and forced to wear a mask during their sexual encounters.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Pietro and Gloria, as there is a clear attraction between them. Their Maybe Ever After at the end of the book is the only thing that is not completely tragic Downer Ending.
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  • Cool Kid-and-Loser Friendship: Bullied and unpopular Pietro's only friend is the beautiful and popular Gloria. An entire chapter explains that they are so close because they are Childhood Friends.
  • Cool Teacher: Flora is very sweet to Pietro, at least before her Sanity Slippage.
  • Crapsack World: Most people living in Ischiano Scalo are messed-up, pathetic losers at best and cruel assholes at worst. Very few characters are sympathetic, but they suffer the Trauma Conga Line anyway, and nobody gets a happy ending.
  • The Dreaded: Pierini, the sadistic bully and ruthless thug, is feared by all the students and also by the school staff, especially Flora. The only one who is not scared of him is Gloria, and it's one of the reasons why even Pierini has a crush on her, like most boys at school.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Pietro has an abusive, alcoholic father, an apathetic, depressed mother, and an idiotic metalhead brother.
  • Extreme Doormat:
    • For most of the book, Pietro is treated horribly by almost everyone (except Gloria and Flora), until he finally Grew a Spine at the end.
    • Flora is regularly pranked and disrespected by her student Pierini, but she's too scared to do anything.
    • The principal is completely dominated by his assistant and lets her take all the decisions.
    • Pietro's mother is so apathetic that she doesn't care if her alcoholic husband abuses their children.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Pietro is smart, reasonable, and the Only Sane Man of his family, while his older brother Mimmo is an immature idiot. Despite that, they are surprisingly close for the most part.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Graziano's attraction to the redheaded Flora.
  • Hot Teacher: Flora Palmieri is seen this way by Graziano. Even school bully Pierini has sexual fantasies about her, despite his hatred for his teacher.
  • Indifferent Beauty: While Gloria is the biggest Dude Magnet in the school, she doesn't care. She dresses and acts like a tomboy, and basically rejects everyone, but this doesn't stop her admirers from trying.
  • Interclass Friendship: Pietro's mom used to work as a cleaning lady for Gloria's rich family. That's how the two children became friends.
  • Jerkass: Pretty much everyone except Pietro, Flora, and Gloria. The biggest jerks are Pierini and his Gang of Bullies, Erica (Graziano's ex girlfriend), Italo the janitor, Italo's cop son Bruno, and Pietro's father.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Gloria is a rude and aggressive Spoiled Brat (who used to be an Enfant Terrible), but she's nice to Pietro and the only one who treats him like a friend.
    • It's implied that Graziano is not a bad person, despite his immaturity and womanizing past. Too bad he always makes bad decisions and is definitely an Anti-Hero.
  • Karma Houdini: Pierini, Bacci, and Ronca get away with all their delinquent acts, including bullying Pietro and the school vandalism. Instead, Pietro gets blamed for their vandalism and also gets Held Back in School, despite being a good student.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Ronca finally gets beaten up by Pietro, after the former mocks him for flunking school.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Womanizer Graziano ends up falling in love with Erica, and then with Flora. Both relationships are toxic and nothing good comes out of it.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Flora, the mysterious teacher who never had any friends, relationships, and spends all her time taking care of her ill mother. She's often believed to be a witch or a bad luck magnet by the other citizens.
  • Parental Substitute: Flora is more of a caring parental figure to Pietro than his actual parents, but this is tragically subverted after her Sanity Slippage. Gloria's parents are also more caring towards Pietro than his real parents.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Italo the Janitor is mostly a sleazy, unlikable asshole. When he recognizes Pietro among the boys who vandalized the school (Pietro was actually forced to do that by Pierini and his gang), he tells the principal that he still doesn't believe that a nice kid like Pietro would do anything like that. And when Pietro gets Held Back in School for that, he feels sorry for him.
    • Pierini is the most monstrous character in the book. Towards the end, he tells Pietro that he didn't deserve to be held back in school, unlike his friend Ronca who keeps bullying Pietro even after that.
  • Satellite Love Interest:
    • Gloria never gets a POV chapter until the very end, despite being Pietro's best friend and Love Interest, and we mostly only see Pietro's point of view.
    • Averted with Graziano's Love Interest Flora, who is basically the Tritagonist with many POV chapters and the only character who has important interactions with both Pietro and Graziano.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Mild-mannered Pietro and impulsive Gloria. They had this dynamic since they were little kids.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Graziano and Flora. Although they genuinely fall in love during the brief time they hook up, their relationship ends in tragedy.
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: Gloria is a physically aggressive tomboy, Pietro is a smart and studious nerd.
  • Teens Are Monsters: In a book where almost all the adults are portrayed as jerks, the most evil character is Pierini, a teenager. This thug is so disturbingly cruel that even the school staff is scared of him.
  • Terrible Trio: School bully Pierini and his two henchmen Bacci and Ronca. They all torment Pietro.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Graziano leaving town and abandoning Flora ends up causing all the tragic events at the end of the book: Flora has a Sanity Slippage and stops defending Pietro from the school staff, Pietro gets Held Back in School despite Flora's promises, Pietro confronts Flora who is now batshine insane and starts insulting Pietro and his family, Pietro kills Flora, Pietro is sent to a juvenile detention center. When Graziano realizes his mistakes and decided to come back to Flora, it's a bit too late.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Pierini doesn't get why the cool and beautiful Gloria spends so much time with a doormat/loser like Pietro. As a result, he cruelly bullies Pietro, who has no idea why Pierini hates him so much.

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