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Our Roots Are Deep with Passion Paperback – October 17, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This collection of essays on being Italian-American (or in some cases, an Italian in America or an American in Italy) is filled with imagery and topics of not only food and wine but Catholicism, immigration and linguistics. In a poetic tale of family and forced immigration with Catholic and culinary undertones, Louise DeSalvo's " 'MBriago" is the collection's opener as well as a literary high point. In "Sacrifice," Maria Laurino writes of an Italian-American who sacrifices her life to care for her disabled son; Edvige Giunta describes her native Sicily in "The Walls of Gela." Almost every essay in the collection explores the notion of someone surrendering a major part of themselves (their homeland, their identity, their childhood, their Saturday afternoons, their happiness) for the greater good of their family. The stories are inspiring, but they also give the collection a bittersweet flavor. In the end, this welcome collection challenges preconceived notions about Italian-Americans. (Oct.)
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Review

Publishers Weekly

This collection of essays on being Italian-American (or in some cases, an Italian in America or an American in Italy) is filled with imagery and topics of not only food and wine but Catholicism, immigration and linguistics. In a poetic tale of family and forced immigration with Catholic and culinary undertones, Louise DeSalvo's " 'MBriago" is the collection's opener as well as a literary high point. In "Sacrifice," Maria Laurino writes of an Italian-American who sacrifices her life to care for her disabled son; Edvige Giunta describes her native Sicily in "The Walls of Gela." Almost every essay in the collection explores the notion of someone surrendering a major part of themselves (their homeland, their identity, their childhood, their Saturday afternoons, their happiness) for the greater good of their family. The stories are inspiring, but they also give the collection a bittersweet flavor. In the end, this welcome collection challenges preconceived notions about Italian-Americans.


Newsday

Being Italian-American is more than just your nonna's bolognese, First Communion and colorful Soprano-speak. A leading literary journal has collected 22 essays (and a foreword by actor Joe Mantegna) on unexpected subjects, from a father's accordion to a lesbian wedding, Italian-style.


Waterbuty Republican-American, Tracey O'Shaughnessy

The stories of Italian-Americans in smokey social halls, braiding hard boiled eggs into dough, hands deep in the fecund earth of the garden and always, it seemed, always in the kitchen are stories that are singular and communal, like Italian-Americans themselves.


Library Journal

This thoroughly enjoyable and instructive essay collection also serves as Volume 30 of the literary journal Creative Nonfiction. Gutkind (founding editor, Creative Nonfiction) and Herman (creative writing, Manhattanville Coll.) either performed their editing duties superbly, had an enormous pile of writing talent from which to pick, or some combination of both circumstances judging from the engrossing results....Essential...engaging...and highly recommended


Reference & Research Book News

With nary a stereotype in sight, but with plenty of commentary about living hyphenated in America, 21 writers tell their stories about a life based on language, connections, similarities and differences. Some stories are sweet, some are cruel, but all are Italian-American, with the attendant overtones of living large just slightly apart from the mainstream...

[Editors] Gutkind and Herman largely let the authors, including Louise DeSalvo, Mary Beth Caschetta, Edvige Giunta and Sandra Gilbert speak for themselves, hyphens, pasta and all.


Foreword Magazine, Caroline Sinkinson

...a moving assortment of works by Italian-American writers.

The complexity of each author's experience reveals the futility of brief definition and instead provides a rich understanding for readers, whether they are entering this culture for the first time or returning to their own memories.

...this collection is a display of character, sensation, and drama told with captivating sincerity in essays ripe with themes of family, gender, hardship, strength, love, jealousy, magic, and food, while revealing qualities of community, connection, and culture. These compelling stories shift as much in theme as in voice and style. The layered voices and stories are united in the Italian-American experience, but each is unique in the author's telling.

The collection does not expose a defined cultural experience, but rather a world culture that is merging and moving. The essays are an intersection of old and new, of Italian and American. They are a dialogue with the Italian and the American, and with the hyphen between them.


MultiCultural Review

...funny, sad, moving, complex, and challenging...These writings remind readers to remember and be grateful for their ethnic roots.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (October 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590512421
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590512425
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Lombardo on July 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is wonderful for us in our 60s who grew up with Italian grandparents or parents. The essays are reminiscent of holidays, activities, everyday life & phrases from our youth. While it is always pleasurable to remember the "good old days", it is nice to share these memories with our children. This book is a great way to do it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phil Terrana on April 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am half Irish and half Italian. My Irish family lived 400 miles away and I only saw them two or three times a year for about three weeks but because they were many aunts, uncles and cousins involved I felt a strong association with the Irish.
On the other hand the city where I lived, the neighborhood where I lived and the schools I attended were almost totally Italian but because I was third generation, it was a smaller family and Italian wasn't spoken in my home I think I took the Italian side of me for granted. It was all around me and that was that.
Reading this book reminded me of so many little things that at the time I didn't think much of but now realize how important they were. My grandfather who was born in Sicily didn't speak English and never ventured around the neighborhood but every afternoon either my mother--or myself when I got older--would drive him to the club--a smoked filled room where he would play cards for several hours. Until I read this book I never thought about how important it must have been for him to be surrounded by men who were his age, probably had similar working experiences, and the similar handicaps of living in a world so foreign.
I loved the emphasis the book places on words and phrases. When I was growing up, my oldest uncle spoke very good Italian as did my father and next uncle. My youngest uncle knew very little Italian and what he knew I don't think he knew well. I remember his brothers egging him on to say certain words or phrases or asking him questions in Italian to see what his response would be. Reading this book made me realize how just a small difference in reflection was so important.
I thoroughly enjoyed the stories, the personalities (and Italians are wonderful personalities)and the personal accounts.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
OUR ROOTS ARE DEEP WITH PASSION: CREATIVE NONFICTION gathers new writings by Italian American writers, compiling over twenty essays on the ways in which Italian ancestry enhances the lives of Americans. Essays cover everything from food and romance to cultural history, and offer both Italians and non-Italians an affection survey of Italian impacts on American culture.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doc Sue on April 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading the stories in this book brought back long-forgotten memories of my Italian grandparents. I discovered that words that I thought they made up were slang Italian. Great read!
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Format: Paperback
Non-fiction at its best. Beautifully written contemporary stories gathered around Italian American identity. Not nostalgic. Real life lived. Wonderful introduction by actor Joe Mantegna. If you want to get beyond ethnic stereotyping of Italian-Americans read this book. Get ready for truth. Pass it on. A worthy read.

forever,
Annie

Annie Lanzillotto
author of "L is for Lion: an italian bronx butch freedom memoir" SUNY Press
and "Schistsong" BORDIGHERA Press

www.annielanzillotto.com

L Is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir (SUNY series in Italian/American Culture)
Schistsong (Via Folios)
Blue Pill
Carry My Coffee (Live)
Eleven Recitations
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