Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers by AdrianaTrigiani (Harper, October 2011)
Adriana Trigiani, author of two best-selling series, the Valentines and Big Stone Gap, turns her pen to her family and her own Italian grandmothers, Viola and Lucy. While many memories of Italian American families focus on the kitchen and the large meals the matriarchs would constantly make, Trigiani focuses on the women and their lives. Viola grew up in Pennsylvania on a farm while both her parents worked in a local quarry. Before marrying, Viola worked at a pants factory and upon marrying, she and her husband began the Yoland Manufacturing Company which taught Viola to be a shrewd business woman, but allowed her to live a gracious life in Pennsylvania, doing much entertaining, raising a family and enjoying her always new car.
Lucia’s life paralleled Viola’s in that she was a seamstress in Hoboken, moving to Minnesota with her husband where she ran a shoe shop and was a courturiere both allowing her to support and sustain her family after her husband died when she was thirty-five. She never remarried.
As Trigiani frames her life against these two women, she focuses on the maternal importance in a child’s life. She extols her grandmothers’ work ethics and their commitment to their employees and customers each served. An interesting social history, his book is above all, a loving tribute to Trigiani’s two amazing grandmothers and grandmothers everywhere.