Book Review: Don’t Sing At The Table by Adriana Trigiani
March 27, 2011 13 Comments
I’ve read quite a few books by Adriana Trigiani: all of the Big Stone Gap series and her books following those. Only the Valentine books I didn’t read. I was very pleased with the opportunity to read this ARC from Harper.
The subtitle reads: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers and it’s a non-fiction book about Trigiani’s grandmothers.
Don’t Sing at the Table: What it is about
Adriana Trigiani describes the lives of her two grandmothers. Both of Italian descent, one was a second-generation immigrant, while the other grandmother came to the US after she married.
The book is divided into chapters, each dealing with a particular topic. First, we learn about the grandmothers as children, the family and community they grew up in. Then there are chapters about the working lives of the two grandmothers. One runs a factory and the other has her own shoe shop and dress making business. Both women work their whole lives.
The book relates about the women’s courtship and marriage (both have partners who die young), about travelling, children and religion.
The further in time the chapters go, the more often Trigiani tells about her own contact with her grandmothers, her memories about all kinds of topics. Throughout the chapters, there are short “life lessons” such as “Wear what you like, not what looks good on someone else”. The further in the book, the more life lessons are presented. Trigiani also relates how she interprets these lessons and how she incorporates them in her own life.
Don’t Sing at the Table: What I thought
I especially enjoyed the first part of the book, dealing mostly with the background. When it came to the actual “lessons”, I didn’t like how Trigiani explained time and again how she and her family also keep to the grandmothers’ wise words. It was as if she was trying to score points or get the approval of her readers (or possibly, her grandmothers!).
I found the book inspiring. The grandmothers spent a long time as widows but they worked hard and lived by their principles and succeeded very well in doing what they wanted.
If you know Adriana Trigiani’s other books, you will sometimes recognise places and people and there are definitely elements from her fiction that can be found back in this memoir.
I got this book: as a free ARC from Harper Publishers
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 202
First published: 2010
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Extra: See also my review of The Shoemaker’s Wife (2012) HERE.