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A Goomba's Guide to Life Paperback – September 23, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schirripa may be best known for playing a goomba on TV (he's Bobby Bacala, Uncle Junior's dimwitted lackey, on The Sopranos), but he has some first-hand experience to draw from as well. Schirripa grew up in the heavily Italian Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, where his bookie father was arrested 32 times; he himself worked at Vegas casinos for years before stumbling into acting. But too much of this tongue-in-cheek how-to ignores Schirripa's potentially compelling life story in favor of shopworn riffs on Sinatra and prosciutto. ("Goomba culture is pretty simple stuff. All those cliches? They're true," Schirripa writes-which might make one wonder why a guide such as his is necessary.) Even with almost 30 pages devoted to recipes, the book feels padded, and Schirripa and Fleming are surprisingly stingy with Sopranos anecdotes. They strive for lowbrow authenticity-the word "ain't" shows up eight times in the first three pages, and one sentence begins, "Just like I been saying"-but end up sounding sloppy. Sopranos junkies may enjoy the occasional behind-the-scenes tidbit, and there are a few genuinely amusing moments. But the self-conscious style and overreliance on lists ("You might be a goomba if..." and the like) just might consign the book to "fuhgeddaboudit" status, despite its obvious marketing potential in Sopranos-themed displays.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Finally, a Goomba guide for everyone that is one, knows one, or wants to be one. Steve Schirripa is a great storyteller with a touching and humorous story to tell.” -- James Gandolfini

“Before reading this book, who was I? Just another punk kid on the street trying to stay out of jail. Now I’m a rock star, an award-winning actor, and a DJ on my own radio show. Thank you, Stevie—I owe it all to you!” -- Stevie Van Zandt

“Put a gold chain on your neck, sit down on a plastic-covered couch, and then read what I think is the funniest book there is about Italians. Now have a cannoli and shut up.” -- Ray Romano

“Steve Schirripa is the best Italian writer since Maya Angelou and I’m not just saying that because he has
a gun to my head . . . okay, yes I am.” -- Chris Rock

“From one fat guy to another—and from a real goy to a real goomba—this book is hilarious!” -- Louie Anderson

“I laughed until I ate.” --Kevin James

“This book is a heartfelt celebration of Italian-American culture from a guy who really knows his macaroni. Congratulations, Steve. Salute!” -- Michael Imperioli

“Steve Schirripa’s A Goomba’s Guide to Life absolutely killed me, stuffed my body in the trunk of a Monte Carlo, and then dumped me in the river.” -- Bill Maher

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (September 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400050812
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400050819
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By louienapoli on October 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm a literary snob, and when I saw this book on the bookstore counter, I cringed. Schirripa is a terrific actor on The Sopranos, but I immediately figured this was another attempt by a level B celeb to make some extra cash with garbage masquerading as a book. But I opened it and started reading in the check out line and started laughing so hard and loud other customers started rubbernecking. The kind of laughs that bring tears to your eyes and pain to your stomach. This guy is truly funny, and all of his humor is based on truth. The book is also written with tremendous warmth, and could be subtitled "Pasta Fazool for the Goomba Soul." It's actually inspiring. And--how's this for a plus--it contains some fantastic and easy recipes. I feel like I got more than my money's worth from this book--laughs, inspiration, and some great Italian meals.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Sideburns on May 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One of the best friends I ever had was a guy from "the neighborhood" (actually Long Island) who was so obviously Italian-American (and a fair slice Colombian too, if the truth be telt) that he seemed to be a parody of his own lifestyle.

Little did I know, he wasn't a self-parody...he was simply A WORLD-CLASS GOOMBA.

I had grown up understanding this to be an insult...and under some circumstances, it is...but the truth is that those guys who live The Good Life as gangsters on TV and the movies aren't just the embodiment of some preppy screenwriter's fantasy; they are in fact living arguably the best possible life there is.

This book tells you, in some ways more certain than others, just how to live that same life, even if you've no more any Italian blood within your veins than Elvis Presley (solidly honorary Goomba status) or Genghis Khan.

It's a fascinating introduction to anyone who's ever been captivated by the lifestyle portrayed onscreen by uber-actors Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, and yes, James Gandolphini and the cast of "The Sopranos", yet was understandably hesitant about embracing the lifestyle most often showcased in their most widely-regarded films or TV shows.

In other words, you don't have to be a gangster to be a big shot. You DO have to THINK you're a big shot whether or not you actually ARE before anyone else inside the know will believe that you are or not.

My father once told me that ever since the Jazz Age, young black males have been the one group that most young white males most sought to emulate.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By george dolce on February 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
absolutely loved the book. funny, true, and an excellent celebration of the italian culture in many ways. the book could use a section depicting the characteristics and rituals of goombas from across the country (e.g. Buffalo). otherwise, the book is an exciting tale of being italian. The book also could be classified as a simple self-help book because Steve is right on about good goomba's: we treat people right, we love our family first and foremost, and we have a positive attitude. By the way my son is anthony, my daughter is gabriella, my dad was anthony and my mom was marie. mom just paased away and for her eulogy i ended it with Jerry Vale's "More". This goomba also knows what he's talking about. all the best to my fella goombas!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a very funny book. It accurately portrays what it's like being an Italian guy from New York. And let me tell you from experience, it's exactly as fun & funny as Schirripa describes. Another good book about an Italian guy from New York is "No One's Even Bleeding". (Also highly recommended.)
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24 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Dr. van der Linden on October 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Americans and Italians both tend to be pretty provincial people. It stands to reason, I guess, that Italian-Americans would display a degree of provincialism raised an order of magnitude. Or more. This notwithstanding, anyone reading Schirripa's view of the "goomba" culture should be warned that it's *so* damned narrow and simplistic as to blow even its entertainment value.
Like Schirripa, I'm a late-middle-aged third generation Italian-American. Like him, too, I'm of mixed blood. He's half-Italian, half-Jewish. I'm Sicilian on the paternal side, and my mother's family is an only-in-America derivation from Naples and Abruzzo. The difference seems to lie in the fact that while he's a native of New York City and thus tuned to the peculiar insanity of that malignant metropolis, my family got off the boat and headed for the farm country of South Jersey.
So let's correct just a few of the many ghodawful misapprehensions you'll get from reading this scoop of frothy pasta-pot overboil masquerading as a book.
(1) Most Italian-American men and women of our generation - and our parents' - are far more American than Italian. My father and several of my uncles spent World War II blowing holes in the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, and only my mother's brother, Vito (who went throughout his life under the nickname "Pete"), spent any time in Italy. His opinion of the folks we left behind barely bordered on the printable, and there's been nothing much to change that overall impression in my family. We're some of the most aggressively *AMERICAN* people on the planet.
(2) Contrary to the image presented by Schirripa, the majority of Italian-Americans tend strongly to seek steady employment.
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