Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers

Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers

3.8 40
by Adriana Trigiani
     
 

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"No one ever reads just one of Trigiani’s wonderfully quirky tales. Once you pick up the first, you are hooked.” —BookPage

New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani shares a treasure trove of insight and guidance from her two grandmothers: time-tested, common sense advice on the most important aspects of a

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Overview

"No one ever reads just one of Trigiani’s wonderfully quirky tales. Once you pick up the first, you are hooked.” —BookPage

New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani shares a treasure trove of insight and guidance from her two grandmothers: time-tested, common sense advice on the most important aspects of a woman’s life, from childhood to the golden years. Seamlessly blending anecdote with life lesson, Don’t Sing at the Table tells the two vibrant women’s real-life stories—how they fell in love, nurtured their marriages, balanced raising children with being savvy businesswomen, and reinvented themselves with each new decade. For readers of Big Stone Gap, Very Valentine, Lucia, Lucia, and Rococo, this loving memoir is the Trigiani family recipe for chicken soup for the soul

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. (Nov.)
Booklist
“Soothingly and with clarity…. Readers will find her strength and optimism helpful, and her legions of loyal fans will enjoy learning more about the women who influenced, inspired, and, according to Trigiani, made possible some of her best-selling fiction.”
Boston Globe
“Delightful, energetic. . . . Trigiani is a seemingly effortless storyteller.”
USA Today
“Dazzling.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Well crafted work with sometime lyrical, sometimes flat-out-funny writing.”
Roanoke Times
“Trigiani has certainly not lost her ability to breathe life into everything she writes.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Adriana Trigiani listens to her readers, then gives them what they want. ”
Library Journal
Best-selling author Trigiani (Very Valentine) presents a loving paean to her Italian grandmothers, Viola and Lucy. Both hardworking career women, Viola owned and operated a Pennsylvania clothing factory, and Lucy also ran her own business as a seamstress. Viola is a cantankerous and stern taskmaster who lives by a strict set of rules, has a penchant for Manhattans, snipes groundhogs in her garden with her trusty rifle, and doles out her opinion as she pleases. Immigrant Lucy is more simple and conservative, not enamored of glitz. Trigiani uses their examples to navigate the course of her life and work. The book is at its best when discussing a way of life long gone where privately owned businesses employed local workers to produce quality clothing at affordable prices. Trigiani is pushing the envelope when discussing religion, always a social faux pas, and child rearing, where she completely discounts the father's role.Verdict Minor quibbles aside, there is much warmth in these remembrances, which will resonate with readers who enjoyed strong relationships with their own grandparents and know the value they can bring to our lives.—Mike Rogers, Library Journal

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews

Nostalgic collection by the bestselling author of the Valentine series and Big Stone Gap series.

The author's grandmothers, Lucia Spada and Yolanda "Viola" Perin, both from working-class Italian immigrant backgrounds, knew the score in home economics, maintaining a nice figure, sex and marriage. Trigiani (Brava, Valentine, 2010, etc.) draws on their forthright skills in fashioning a comfortable home for their families in this righteous primer for the virtuous life. Viola grew up on a farm in Delabole, Pa., where her parents began work in the Slate Quarry upon their immigration from Veneto in 1906. Viola met her husband while working at a pants factory in Bangor, Pa., and eventually they started their own mill in Martins Creek, the Yolanda Manufacturing Company, which operated successfully until the late '60s. Viola lived most of her life in an opulent Tudor home in Flicksville, not far from the mill, where she entertained friends, maintained cars "of the moment" and generally lived the good life. Similarly, Lucia, born in Italy, immigrated to New York City with her father in 1917, and found work as a seamstress in a Hoboken, N.J., factory. Relocated with her new Italian husband to Chisholm, Minn., she made a success as a couturiere as well asrunning a shoe shop, which sustained her and her three children after her husband's died when she was 35. What did these hardworking ladies impart to the author, who visited their homes as a child and closely observed them? They both pursued careers while raising their children; they never threw anything away, having both known poverty (when asked why she only owned three dresses, Lucia replied: "How many can I wear at one time?"); they both hadsprezzatura ("effortless style"); they never retired, never remarried and kept up impeccable reputations; and they bought their own homes. Their child-raising skills, moreover, come across as charming if apocryphally rose-colored.

Corny but comforting lessons for readers seeking a simpler way of life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062020758
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/09/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
92,418
File size:
2 MB

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