I've been struggling to find the words for this review for quite some time. Each time I try, I fall into this sappy sweet, personal zone of over sharing. Adriana has that effect on people! To know her is to love her, and to read her writing is to open a door to her family, where you are a welcomed guest.
DON'T SING AT THE TABLE: Life Lessons From My Grandmothers is Adriana Trigiani's first non-fiction book; although those of us who have read her works of fiction now understand where she finds her inspiration.
Adriana was lucky enough to have grown up with two grandmothers who were loving, thoughtful, hard-working, strong, and genuine. Viola (Yolanda) and Lucy (Lucia) lead by example, and imparted their wisdom to their granddaughter on a variety of topics - from staying fit and healthy, to packing smart when traveling. This book shares the life lessons and history of these two inspirational women.
DON'T SING AT THE TABLE is a gift. Literally and figuratively. When I met Adriana back in May, she gave me a copy of this book. Since then, I have picked it up countless times. Sometimes I pick it up just to re-read a passage that came to my mind that day - like the day I went shopping and saw a navy blue polka dot dress. Other times, I may be feeling a bit lost and need something to bring life back into focus.
Now for the over share. I lost both my grandmothers before I was a teenager, before I was able to appreciate and learn from their wisdom and legacy. My sister has tried to tell me about the relationship she had with our grandmother, but I never realized what she meant until I read this scene from one of Adriana's visits with her grandmother, Lucy:
"When I came into the room (and I was so chic at the time - an eleven-year-old with style, wearing a long rope of wooden beads with a navy blue scooter skirt), she looked up at me and smiled. Beamed. Whenever I came into the room, she'd light up, so happy to see me. No one ever in the course of my entire life was ever as happy to see me as she was. Looking back, now, I realize that you only ever need on person who lights up that way when you enter a room. One person is all it takes to give a kid confidence."
I may have missed out on this feeling, which is probably why my sister has become my biggest fan - grandmotherly love by proxy - but I will do everything I can to make sure that I am healthy enough to give this gift to my own grandchildren. (Funny I think this way...my oldest child isn't even a tween yet!)
In the meantime, I may just have to take a day trip to Martin's Creek, PA, just so I can breath the same air as Viola! She was a strong, elegant, and full of practical advice:
"Viola said, keep illusion on the screen at the local movie house; in life, face the facts...Viola worked in extras in her budget...However, there was no hiding the numbers or manipulating them to put anyone's mind at ease temporarily. Building wealth takes a plan, an honest and ongoing assessment of expenditures and sacrifice. Treat yourself, Viola believed, but never go into debt doing so."
Since I do not have a daughter, I gave a copy of this book to one of my dearest friends in the whole world. This was a gift I could not keep to myself!
Adriana Trigiani website
Harper Collins page - excerpts, audio clips, etc.
Adriana Trigiani on Facebook, Twitter
About the Book:
Adriana Trigiani and Alison
*Photo courtesy of Beth Fish Reads
About the Author:
Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her hilarious and heartwarming novels. Adriana was raised in a small coal-mining town in southwest Virginia in a big Italian family. She chose her hometown for the setting and title of her debut novel, the critically acclaimed bestseller Big Stone Gap.
Full bio here.
DON'T SING AT THE TABLE.
*Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.