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Life Al Dente: Laughter and Love in an Italian-American Family Hardcover – July 22, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Gina Cascone's Life al Dente: Laughter and Love in an Italian-American Family is an enjoyable, emotional roller coaster of a memoir. With the kind of sensitivity you get only from someone who's lived the experiences, Cascone's story is laugh-out-loud funny, heart-wrenchingly sad, and everything in between. The first-born in a tightly knit Italian Catholic family cursed with only girls, Cascone (the author of Pagan Babies) shares sweet memories of hilarious hiccups she experienced growing up, first in an overcrowded semi-detached house in a heavily Italian enclave in New Jersey, and then as the only ethnic variation in the suburbia of the "American Dream." You don't have to have been the only anything growing up to relate--as Cascone wisely acknowledges, we've all felt that way. Teenage angst is universal, as are the growing pains we experience from birth to death. So what sets Cascone's story apart is her intelligent sense of humor and the passionate love she feels for her family. She recognizes their quirks, and treasures every one of them. And just like in life, it's easier to laugh at just about anything in retrospect. An easy read that's impossible to put down, Life al Dente is the kind of memoir that makes us all wish we were taking notes growing up. --Leora Y. Bloom

About the Author

Gina Cascone grew up in central New Jersey and is the author of Pagan Babies, Mother's Little Helper, and co-author of twenty-six books for children. Gina and her husband raised their two children in New Jersey and now live in Manhattan.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Atria; First Edition edition (July 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074345328X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743453288
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,736,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on July 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Ah, to have the relatives, the wit, and the warm memories of a flawed but sincerely loving, close-knit Italian family such as Gina Cascone's. But even with the same material, few could render the experience of growing up Italian and female in suburbia as well as Cascone has done in this, her 2nd book. The eels! Omigod, the eels for Christmas dinner, first writhing in the bathtub, then writhing around your arm, then writhing on the chopping block, and STILL writhing as, cut into cross-sections, they were tossed into the saute pan! Now, that's a memory few can share. Funny, sad, sentimental, tolerant, it's everything you could want from a short little book. But the overwhelming feeling that comes through is Cascone's love and gratitude for her family.
Don't miss it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chris H on July 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a warm and very funny memoir with a serious point -- that the child's take on the American dream may be quite different from the parent's. Part "Sopranos" (without the violence) and part "My Big Fat Italian Wedding (with recipes), it's the story of a spirited Italian girl's journey out of "the neighborhood" and into the heart of WASP culture. Unfortunately, it ends too soon; I hope Ms. Cascone gives us a sequel.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Firoozeh Dumas on July 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book! As an Iranian, I loved getting a behind the scenes look at an Italian family and was struck by the universality of the experiences. This book, however, should come with a warning--the description of foods leaves the reader hankering for an Italian meal! Thank you Gina, for sharing your family and childhood with the rest of us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Don't think you need to be a member of the family to enjoy this warm, loving and quite funny look at childhood. You can feel the warmth this author has for her zany family in every nook and cranny.The feelings are universal; love, loss, despair at your parent's behavior and the laughter that only family can share. Curl up with this book and remember what it was like to be a child.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Brodowski on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Life al Dente is a wonderfully written and well-spun story that will take anyone back to their youth to remember the finer things in life. Gina Cascone reminds us that family, no matter how flawed, is a constant source of joy and strength. As a writer of a number of novels, I enjoyed the pace and flow of the story. It painted beautiful images in my mind that left me smiling chapter after chapter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sabrina Underwood on May 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Oh my, I laughed so much reading this book...she nailed my family so well...thank you
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I LOVED LIFE AL DENTE ITS ONE OF THE CUTEST FUNNIEST SWEETEST BEST HILARIOUS BOOKS I HAVE READ IN A VERY LONG LONG TIME. THE MEAN PERSON WHO SAID POOR WRITTING SYTLE AND NOT MUCH HUMOR DOESN'T LIKE BOOKS, AND THEY SHOULD SHUT UP AND GO AWAY WE DON'T NEED THEM TO SHOOT DOWN ALL BOOKS. I LOVE BOOKS I LOVE THIS BOOK ALOT.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This really hit home for me. Some touching stories about "my" people and their quest to become part of the USA while keeping their old custome alive. I only wish it hadn't ended so quickly....I wanted more.
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