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Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 9, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, November 9, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061958948
  • ASIN: B0055X6V3C
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,322,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Fans of Adriana Trigiani's novels will recognize the women in her non-fiction book- her grandmothers Lucy and Viola have appeared in many of the characters in her fiction. Not only does Trigiani do a marvelous job of recounting the fascinating life stories of these women, she uses their lives to write a primer for living your own life.
Women like Lucy and Viola are the people who made this country great, and they jump off the pages in this delightful book. They have more than their fair share of troubles, (both of them are widowed), but their sheer will and strength of character will inspire other women to persevere and succeed as they did.
Although she is an Italian immigrant, Lucy moves to Minnesota and takes on the stoic characteristics of American midwesterners. She loses her husband at an early age and raises her three children on her own, all while running her own business. Viola was a pistol, running her own clothing factory, raising her family, entertaining friends in her lovely home, traveling.
Both women had terrific advice for their granddaughter, and the way that Trigiani structures the book, first telling their life stories, then sharing the how living their lives were examples we could all follow today, makes this book so enjoyable. DON'T SING AT THE TABLE would make a great gift for the women in your life, both those starting out and those whose wisdom should be shared with their own families.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an avid reader who follows the work of a certain author, I often wonder where they get their story lines, and how they develop their characters.. Adriana Trigiani not only writes fantastic novels, creating memorable characters, but in writing "Don't Sing At The Table", exposed who were the women behind the creation of some of the best characters. I clearly see her grandmothers in my favorite character, Nella Castelluca, the heroine in the novel, Queen of the Big Time .All of Adriana's female characters are women of strength and determination, much like the many of the women I knew growing up.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Adriana Trigiani's many fans won't be surprised to learn how the strength, support and inspiration she has gleaned from her beloved grandmothers inform her work. In these stories, we meet the ladies themselves: Lucy (Lucia Spada Bonicelli) and Viola (Yolanda Perin Trigiani). Lucy and Viola possessed many strengths and talents, both similar and complementary, for their granddaughter to admire and emulate. It's a pleasure to learn of their lives through these lively, descriptive and heartfelt anecdotes.

Lucy's story begins as the eldest of eight children, living in the Italian Alps. The family fell upon hard times. Their circumstances were so dire, in fact, that Lucy offered to travel with her father to the United States to find work. They planned to send money home and then eventually return to buy a house that would make the family secure. When she finally arrived here, Lucy found a job in a mill operating a sewing machine that paid $2 a week. She also met her future husband, a handsome shoemaker named Carlo Bonicelli. Theirs was not only a love match; they were a working team, with Carlo opening a shoe shop while Lucy ran her own dressmaking business. When Lucy was just 35, she was a widow. Still, she managed to raise a family and send her children to college by selling factory-made shoes and by sewing and altering garments. Although she had no blood relations nearby, she built a community of friends who were always available for her and her kids.

Yolanda Trigiani was called Viola --- except for the business she owned with her husband, "The Yolanda Manufacturing Company." She grew up on a farm and always believed in a productive but gracious home life. Even as she kept a perfect home, she ran her business in a constant quest for flawlessness.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a great fan of Adriana Trigiani and was looking forward to reading this book. It was good from the standpoint that you can see from whom many of her characters are created. I didn't dislike the book; but enjoy her fiction better.
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