“The novelist collects the wisdom of her spirited Italian grandmothers, delivered with plenty of maternal insight and moxie.” -L.A. Times 2010 Nonfiction Book Gift List
“Fans of novelist Trigiani will be delighted with this guided tour through the author’s family history via her grandmothers, Lucia and Viola. She lovingly details the women’s lives and recounts the lessons she’s learned while offering a fascinating look at U.S. history from the perspective of her Italian-American forebears. Both Lucia and Viola worked hard from an early age, cooking and cleaning among any number of chores, and parlayed their work ethic and expertise into strong careers. Viola started out as a machine operator and, later, co-owned a mill with her husband, while Lucia worked in a factory and then became a seamstress and storefront couturier. Her grandmothers also took pride in passing along wisdom to others; throughout her life, Trigiani benefited from their guidance regarding everything from marriage to money, creativity to religion. She credits them with telling good stories: “I mimicked their work ethic imagining myself in a factory, layering words like tasks until the work was done. I took away more than life lessons from their stories; I made a career out of it.” Here, Trigiani combines family and American history, reflections on lives well-lived, and sound advice to excellent effect, as a legacy to her daughter and a remembrance of two inimitable women.”
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Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers
FAN-SUBMITTED REVIEW BY LOUISE:
Life lessons indeed!! Adriana Trigiani’s Grandmothers, Viola and Lucy were bright, intelligent, hard-working, sensible but no nonsense women who taught Adriana lessons about life that will sustain her for many years to come. These two women were entrepreneurs who knew how to take risks and win. Even in the face of tragedy in their own families, the courage and immense strength these women showed is an inspiration to all who will read this book.
The morals and values learned from these two gracious women and the way in which they taught them is a testament to the indomitable spirit both women possessed. Their lessons reminded me of ‘logical consequences’, that is, if you don’t wear a coat on a cold and snowy day then you’re going to freeze to death but have no one to blame but yourself. If you forget to make your lunch before heading off to school or work then come lunchtime, you’re going to be starving and drooling while watching your co-workers dive into their lunch boxes.
These two grand women carved a path for their beloved granddaughter, Adriana to follow behind and glean from them their daring approach to life, family, love, work and overcoming tragedy and obstacles. This is the kind of book a lot of us wish we had the talent to write about our own grandmothers and the lessons they taught us. I know that I for one would love to have the gift of pen and word to write about my one very special Gramma.
Adriana has given us women a gift, she has shared her Grandmothers with us and allowed us to peek into their lives and listened to what she has learned along the way. EVERY ONE needs to read “Life Lessons…!!” Thank you, Adriana for sharing your beloved Lucy and Viola with us, I feel truly humbled.
FAN-SUBMITTED REVIEW BY MAROLYN:
Adri, Adri, Adri, I absolutely ADORE the gift you sent me. Received the book Monday and immediately threw down EAT,PRAY,LOVE and was on my personal journey of EAT,PRAY, GRANDMOTHERS!!!
The INTRODUCTION made me teary eyed, and I thought; what was the meat of the book going to bring me?? Well, I felt so many emotions that I had to write them down and tell you. I always thought, after reading all your books, you had an old, tender soul who truly did stay the course. Now, I know why!! Please take this as a compliment from a sixty seven year old woman who is talking to you as if you were one of her daughters…
Actually, there are so many thoughts and memories that were racing through my mind … There were many things about this book I loved. … You and your books give me that constant warm, endearing connection to my family and culture, which I deeply miss.
From the very beginning Lucy and Viola instilled in you, as you stated, developing character, rooted in kindness; and a spirit that might negotiate loss and rebound from grief to love more deeply. Also, I loved this; they made time, they made things, they made life. How wonderful!! They taught you, through their example, a strong work ethic, determination, graciousness, security, love of God, humor, which you get from Viola. La Bella Figura!!
I met a lovely seamstress when my oldest daughter Stacie was getting married and was trying on wedding gowns. She was born and brought up on the Isle of Capri and told me Bella Figura was in our DNA. It was how you presented yourself. If you look good you feel confident and beautiful!!!
Does anybody ever realize life while they are living it? I believe Lucy and Viola did… The bottom line dear Adriana; “you were loved and you loved them” (page 194) What more could a granddaughter ask for?
Adriana, there is an old adage, ” Make Me Laugh, Make Me Cry, But Just Don’t Bore Me.” This is what your books do for me!
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