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Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers Hardcover – November 9, 2010
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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
Top customer reviews
As an Italian American woman, I related to Adriana's grandmothers. Many of my generation had grandmothers & great-aunts who were self-employed, independent, whose husbands served in the United States Military during World War I (the forgotten war), got their citizenship, and during that time, their wives became automatic citizens once they married. Many lost their husbands at a young age, most didn't remarry. My own grandmother set priorities and raised my mother alone, working hard at sometimes more than one job, while running a household.
I saw my own grandfather and great-uncles in her grandfather. These were people, though they were immigrants, were much more at ease in the American culture. All of that generation had a strong sense of identity, they were comfortable with who they were. They had a set of rules that not only they followed but expected everyone else to adhere to. Adriana emphasized how important their expectations were. She also did a great job of blending the old world and the new world. She devoted a few pages explaining how much outsourcing has affected us..how we have lost quality and craftsmanship. All in all, I highly recommend this book if you are a Trigiani fan, as she has let you into her life. It gives you an understanding on what inspires Adriana Trigiani.