Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review: Don't Sing at the Table

Summary: As devoted readers of Adriana Trigiani's New York Times bestselling novels know, this "seemingly effortless storyteller" (Boston Globe) frequently draws inspiration from her own family history, in particular from the lives of her two remarkable grandmothers, who have found their way into all Trigiani's cherished novels. In Don't Sing at the Table, this much-beloved writer has gathered their estimable life lessons, revealing how her grandmothers' simple values have shaped her own life, sharing the experiences, humor, and wisdom of her beloved mentors to delight readers of all ages. 

Lucia Spada Bonicelli (Lucy) and Yolanda Perin Trigiani (Viola) lived through the twentieth century from beginning to end as working women who juggled careers and motherhood. From the factory line to the family table, Lucy and Viola, the very definition of modern women, cut a path for their granddaughter by demonstrating moxie and pluck in their fearless approach to life, love, and overcoming obstacles. 

Lucy's and Viola's traditions and spiritual fortitude will encourage you to hold on to the values that make life rich and beautiful. Their entrepreneurial spirit will inspire you to take risks and reap the rewards. And their remarkable resilience in the face of tragedy will be a source of strength and comfort. 

Trigiani visits the past to seek answers to the essential questions that define the challenges women face today at work and at home. This is a primer, grand-mother to granddaughter, filled with everyday wisdom and life lessons that are truly "tiramisu for the soul" (The Examiner), handed down with care and built to last. -- Harper

It probably comes as no surprise to my regular readers that I adore Adriana Trigiani. I've been a huge fan of her novels for many years, and I have always read her books the day they became available (if not earlier.) I love her characters and her vivid descriptions of fashion, places, and food; and I can honestly say that she's one of my very favorite writers.

Last May, I was one of five bloggers fortunate enough to win a contest to have tea at  Alice's Tea Cup with Adriana -- you can read about my experience here. I had an amazing time and Adriana was everything I hoped (and imagined) her to be. While we were chatting, she mentioned that her next book was going to be about her two grandmothers and what she learned from them. I could tell this book was a labor of love for her, and I couldn't help but notice how often her family, and especially her grandmothers, came up in our conversation.

Ever since our meeting, I have been anxiously awaiting the release of DON'T SING AT THE TABLE: LIFE LESSONS FROM MY GRANDMOTHERS. A few weeks ago, an advanced readers copy arrived on my doorstep and I found myself doing a little happy dance. Maybe it's because I feel like I know Adriana a little bit after spending a few hours with her, but I couldn't wait to crack open this book and learn about the influence her grandmothers had on her life.

I found DON'T SING AT THE TABLE to be a very heartwarming book, and I'm pretty sure that fans of Adriana's will devour it just like I did. While I found the story and the photographs of the lives of Lucy and Viola to be very interesting, I think I most enjoyed the parts of the book where Adriana described the lessons she learned from both of them. I loved seeing how Adriana has taken this advice and applied it to her own life, and I was extremely touched by how much these women meant to Adriana. There is no doubt that this book is a beautiful tribute to two very special women!

One thing's for sure -- Adriana comes from some very special stock. There is no doubt that Lucy and Voila were very different from each other, but they both managed to teach Adriana some incredibly valuable life lessons. Both women lived through the Depression and had amazing work ethics, and I think each of them was ahead of her time in more ways than one. After reading DON'T SING AT THE TABLE, I can see where Adriana got her inner beauty and strength!

Even though DON'T SING AT THE TABLE was about Adriana's grandmothers and how they managed to influence her, I actually found myself reflecting a great deal on my grandmothers while reading this book. My grandmothers are very different from Lucy and Viola, yet so much of what I've learned from them mirrored what Adriana has learned from her grandmothers. (Make sure you check out my tribute post to my grandmothers!)

At its heart, DON'T SING AT THE TABLE is so much more than just the story of Lucy and Viola. I think that the real beauty of this book is in each individual reader's reaction to it. Personally, I was amazed by how many of the life lessons in this book resonated with me. And, I am hoping that each reader will pause and remember her mother or grandmothers (or aunts or great-grandmothers) and appreciate all the wonderful things that she managed to share with her.

DON'T SING AT THE TABLE is a wonderful tribute to Adriana Trigiani's grandmothers, but I also think it's a book that honors the strength and resilience of all women. It's just one of those books that you want to share with a special woman in your life.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book.


Beth F said...

This sounds wonderful but Adriana has a knack for writing wonderful.

bermudaonion said...

I loved this book too! I couldn't help but think of my own grandmother as I read this book. I so admire those strong women who immigrated here and did such a wonderful job of raising their children.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute to two very remarkable women. You are very lucky to have them in your life. As for Adriana, well she's just one of my true loves. I'll read anything she writes (I'd be happy to read her grocery list) and this one sounds just wonderful. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing your Grandmothers.

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

Sounds wonderful -- I love old photographs, family lessons, etc! Perfect!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Between your tribute to your grandmothers and this review, I have a huge lump in my throat. I can't think of a better topic for a book than this.

Debbie said...

I have to run out and get the book now!! I can't wait.
How lucky you are to still have your grandmothers!

Anonymous said...

This sounds lovely! I think it's hard to read a book about something so personal as Grandmothers and not reflect, especially coming up to the holidays! :O)