White as Milk, Red as Blood is a touching novel by Alessandro D’Avenia. It tells on Leo’s life, a sixteen-year-old boy with many hobbies, including playing football and electric guitar with his best friend Niko. One day he falls in love with a beautiful green-eyed and red-haired girl named Beatrice. She is his dream girl; he wants to live together for the rest of his life, which would not make sense without her.
However, Leo’s life is upside down since he discovers that Beatrice suffers from leukemia, so that his parents no longer recognize him. They strongly worry about his decision because he will take care of her. Leo’s behaviour changes also thanks to the “dreamer”, so nicknamed by the protagonist himself. That is a young enthusiastic professor; he will teach Leo the importance of fighting for his dreams.
In addition, Leo links two colours to life: white and red. White indicates emptiness, silence, loneliness and boredom, which is frightening; while red represents blood vessels and Beatrice’s hair.
As it regards the themes, the most important one is true love as Leo is aware that Beatrice could die one day, and then he continued to believe in his love, spending his free time with her by cheering her up. If this is not love, tell me what love is! Furthermore, friendship, family and adolescent dreams are in the book.
This story is based on a real experience, since the writer taught in a university where a student had leukemia. Moreover, Leo’s monologue refers to suffering and dismay bursting into the life of a teenager. The final message is to be satisfied with what we have without demanding more, given that life is full of uncertainty and we should seize the day.