Given Away: A Sicilian Upbringing

Given Away: A Sicilian Upbringing

4.3 7
by Marianna Randazzo

View All Available Formats & Editions

In Sicily, 1935 a four-year child walks away from her loving family, her mother, her sister and an infant brother, with a great-aunt for a vacation. She spends the next eight years of her life absent from their lives. It was not an abduction nor was it an adoption. Tina lives in a one-room house in one of the poorest regions of Sicily. She sleeps between a loving aunt…  See more details below


In Sicily, 1935 a four-year child walks away from her loving family, her mother, her sister and an infant brother, with a great-aunt for a vacation. She spends the next eight years of her life absent from their lives. It was not an abduction nor was it an adoption. Tina lives in a one-room house in one of the poorest regions of Sicily. She sleeps between a loving aunt and a deranged uncle. She shares her breakfast with goats and chickens while living in the shadow of fascism. The child grows up while WW II ravages the town. Her school is taken over by German soldiers and the things like bread and eggs that were once plentiful, no longer exist. Less than 25 kilometers away her family leads a very different life. After eight years, she returns home to find her childhood interrupted again. This time sickness, warfare and destruction are her enemies. In wartime Europe, childhood does not exist. The child witnesses and experiences many disturbing things from her uncouth, unsanitary living conditions to the failed paratroopers dangling from trees during the allied invasion.
Tina is a survivor. She is able to forgive those who took so much away from her. Her spirit trumps over adversity during the war times within and around her. As she grows older, she struggles to keep the harsh realities of World War II and abandonment at a distance through her sense of humor, imagination and determination.
By the age of 15, her fate is sealed, again, without her permission. To gain passage to America she must accept the role as a war bride. A tyrannical, overbearing, bootlegging aunt in America arranges the match. Tina must live under her roof and her rules until her citizenship is secure.
Tina has earned the right to complain, yet at no point does she play the victim. At times, her nonjudgmental stance is disquieting. Despite circumstances that could be categorized as abusive and undeniably negligent. Tina respects her parent's decisions and sacrifices herself for the greater good-even when it is not apparent to her.
Despite a raging war, Tina thinks about her family and her friends more than about the horrors of the battle fought across the continents, even when she is a victim of the German soldiers' mockery and the American soldier's unusual ways. She is remarkably clever and insightful. The plot and setting are true to life in the period of the past. It will bring the history of war torn Europe to life, providing us a lens upon our collective past that define our unique lives.
Tina triumphs against all odds with an unconditional love for a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fortitude to carve out a successful life on her own terms. Given Away,A Sicilian Upbringing, demonstrates that even in the midst of the most horrendous conditions of war, without trivializing the historical tragedy, perseverance prevails as Tina declares what is rightfully hers.

Read More

Product Details

Marianna Randazzo
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.61(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Marianna Randazzo, is the proud mother of three adult children, has been married for over 33 years. She is a teacher, lecturer, Eucharistic Minister, journalist and essayist. She spent her childhood in Brooklyn, New York, soaking up books, drawing and playing school, while teaching kids on the block how to read and write.
She received a B.A in Education and a M.S in Reading from Brooklyn College. She is a licensed Literacy Specialist. She has educated students as well as teachers through staff development and consulting for over thirty-years.
A prolific writer, Marianna has been featured in popular magazines such as Staten Island Parent Magazine and Odyssey Science Magazine. She has won writing contests for InStyle Magazine, among others. In addition to her countless years of public service, Marianna is known for her speech and grant writing, as well as her involvement in numerous professional development, writing and reading organizations and fund-raising efforts.
She is the proud daughter of Sicilian parents and wears her Italian heritage as a badge of honor. She also speaks Sicilian dialect fluently.
She currently resides in Staten Island, New York with her husband and his congregation of birds. She is a "grandmother" to a Cane Corso, an Italian dog.

Visit her website at

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Given Away, A Sicilian Upbringing 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
224perweek 10 months ago
Left me yawning in a few places. It was interesting in certain places like the parts about the war and such but that's about it. Nothing truly special about this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A captivating story of a real life experience.  This book really describes what life must have been like in WWII Sicily. It brings to life the struggles of a family who who have to deal with challenging family relationships and a changing world at war.   A great historical record as well a a wonderful story that is now written for future generations. Truly a great read!  
Bibo More than 1 year ago
Amazing story  of an amazing woman!
Fancie1 More than 1 year ago
This book helped me understand where my husband came from and how his family evolved over the  last 100 years.  Your book helped me understand the strength and courage of those Italians that immigrated to this country.  My mother in law, one of eight children growing up in Newark, NJ,   is a a well educated "tough cookie" and I think I now know why.  This book is a true gem.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marianna Randazzo does a fantastic job telling the compelling story of Tina and her family. I learned so much about Sicily during WW 11. The plot grabbed my heartstrings and didn't let go until the very last sentence!  This is a wonderfully written first novel. I am a reader who is waiting for more from Marianna Randazzo!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Randazzo captures the paradox of life through a child's eyes in a war-torn time. Her depiction of Tina's story begins in Sicily with her mother's unexplained decision that would plague the four-year old for many years. At an age when children did what was expected of them without question, Tina obediently walked off with her mother's aunt to spend a "vacation in the country."  Little Tina's story is told with honesty and candor, providing many insights into the lifestyle of some of the poorest and most helpless casualties of World War II." --Gerri Marino Friscia, Editor, Staten Island Parent Magazine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually read spy novels and Lee Child type books.  I read this one because my parents used to tell me similar stories growing up during the war in Sicily.  This book shows the human sid e..  About a little girl sent on vaction with her aunt and not to return for 8 yrs.  During this tie war breaks out and the Germans occupy Sicily.  A fast and good read.  Thanks Marianna for a heart felt story.