From 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.) (c)
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It would seem, after reading Trigiani’s Don’t Sing at the Table, that most, if not all, of the well-loved author’s best qualities came directly from observing and knowing her grandmothers. Both hardworking, Italian, and coated head-to-toe in their heritage, vivacious Viola Trigiani and tireless Lucy Bonicelli instilled in their children and, clearly, granddaughter Trigiani many simple, profound, and universal values. These addages Trigiani relays and expounds on in floridly, curlicue thoughts: own your own business; plan on the rainy day; good manners are not negotiable; and, of course, don’t sing at the table (readers will pick up the book just to make sense of that one!). Soothingly and with clarity, the author speaks of eventually losing her grandmothers with the same gratitude as she describes the precious time she spent with them. 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. --Annie Bostrom