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Review: Don’t Sing at the Table

November 16, 2010

If you’ve read any of Adriana Trigiani‘s work, you know that the importance of family is always a theme in her books, so it will probably come as no surprise to know that she treasures her family.  Her latest book, Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers is like a love letter to her late grandmothers.   Both of Trigiani’s grandmothers immigrated from Italy and knew their share of hardship and hard work, yet they always maintained a positive attitude about life.  It is evident in this book how much they loved and influenced the author.  Trigiani shares stories and photos of her grandmothers and reflects on how her grandmothers’ strength and determination still affect her today.

As I read this book, I couldn’t help but think of my own maternal grandmother who immigrated from Lithuania.  My grandfather was an invalid for quite a few years before he passed away, so my grandmother is the one who really supported her family.  She worked like a field hand at times to do that – she raised chickens and goats and grew vegetables and fruit as well as took in boarders.  She never wasted anything.  Paper and string were re-used, scraps were fed to the chickens, and feathers were made into pillows.  As little as she had, and as hard as she worked, she always had enough to share with someone in need.  I was five years old when she passed away, so I don’t remember much about her, but I’ve heard plenty of stories.  These are some of the words of wisdom she passed down:

  • If you need a job done, hire it done – you’ll pay only once that way.  With a friend, you never finish paying.
  • If people think you have money, let them think it – they’ll treat you better.
  • Any fool can conceive a child, but it takes some doing to raise one.

I thoroughly enjoyed Don’t Sing at the Table – it’s a celebration of women and  family as well as the immigrants who made this country strong.  It’s a reminder that there is so much to learn from the generations that came before us and that we need to pay them the respect they deserve.  Fans of Adriana Trigiani will love this book, as will those who love to celebrate family.

Check out the next stops on this blog tour:

November 17 – Devourer of Books

November 18 – Presenting Lenore

November 19 – My Friend Amy

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
34 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2010 6:54 am

    Fantastic review and I love the advice!

  2. November 16, 2010 7:42 am

    I do love how important Adriana’s family is to her, and I love how it comes through in her novels.

  3. November 16, 2010 7:44 am

    I love the words of wisdom, Kathy 🙂 Nice review.

  4. November 16, 2010 8:17 am

    Great words of wisdom! Seems like a lovely book.

  5. November 16, 2010 9:03 am

    I have read and loved her books, and I share that feeling with my mom, who also enjoys her work. This book sounds like another wonderful one.

    Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman Kathy! Thanks for the review.

  6. November 16, 2010 9:28 am

    I will read anything Adriana writes but I really want to read this. What I’m enjoying even before reading it though is all the reviews I’ve seen so far have included remembrances of the reviewers grandmothers. What a wonderful gift this book must be. Not only a good read but a great memory trigger. Thanks for you wonderful review. I can’t wait to read this.

  7. November 16, 2010 9:56 am

    This is one I’d enjoy; I am forever telling my grandchildren not to sing at the table, even though a child singing is a delight!

  8. November 16, 2010 11:51 am

    Sounds like a good book and I do like the advice your grandmother passed down to you

  9. November 16, 2010 1:46 pm

    This one sounds so heartwarming. This would be a great one for me to read around the holidays!

  10. November 16, 2010 2:42 pm

    Really can’t wait to read this one! xo

  11. November 16, 2010 2:46 pm

    I love the words of wisdom. Nothing was more truly said!

  12. November 16, 2010 2:50 pm

    I’ve not read Adriana Trigiani yet (*blushing*), but I love it when a book brings to mind something personal and historical! This book sounds wonderful, and I loved to hear the tales of your Lithuanian grandmother as well — great pearls of wisdom!

  13. November 16, 2010 3:13 pm

    I haven’t read any of this author either but I’ve heard good things. I would love this book though as my grandmother was a treasure!!

  14. November 16, 2010 3:27 pm

    I am a fan of Adriana Trigiani’s writing and I look forward to reading this book. Having just lost my own grandmother it may be a bit bittersweet. Grandmother’s are so special and it sounds like yours was as well.

  15. November 16, 2010 3:44 pm

    your grandmother sounds like an amazing lady with a lot of fortitude, she sounds very special. I also remember that you had tea with Adriana Trigaini, so it must have been a real treat for you to read this book. I want to read it too, as I really enjoyed her Big Stone Gap series. Thanks for sharing a bit about your wonderful grandmother in this post, and I am glad to hear that you liked the book!

  16. November 16, 2010 4:22 pm

    Your Grandma had some great advice. 🙂
    This book sounds like a sweet read.

  17. November 16, 2010 4:28 pm

    You introduced me to this author, and I won one of her books from your site, but have yet to read it but so want to. Every review that you write and I read, about her books, sounds to me that I have a lot to catch up on. Once I am caught up, this is one author that I will start reading.

  18. November 16, 2010 4:54 pm

    Wonderful review, Kathy. I haven’t read any of this author’s work yet; this does sound like a terrific book. 🙂

  19. November 16, 2010 8:03 pm

    I think I would really enjoy this one. Family is a huge importance to me. I have never read any of Adriana Trigiani’s books. I have her on my wishlist…

  20. November 16, 2010 8:06 pm

    It sounds like a wonderful book. And it was fun to hear about your own family.

  21. November 16, 2010 8:33 pm

    Oddly enough I love these kinds of books, but I have not even heard of her. Thanks for a great review.

  22. November 16, 2010 8:37 pm

    I adored both of my grandma’s so this one totally appeals to me. Plus I just love this author’s style of writing!! 😀

    Your grandmother sounds like a tower of strength!

  23. November 16, 2010 9:37 pm

    i love your grandmother’s aphorisms–so sage! my grandmother, a sicilian woman from the old school, was practical and talented in so many areas. i carry many of her life lessons (and recipes) with me to this day.

    glad you enjoyed this book–sounds like it’d be right up my alley!

  24. November 17, 2010 5:41 am

    Every time I read a review of this book, I know I want to read it more and more.

  25. givingreadingachance permalink
    November 17, 2010 5:48 am

    Wow! Thanks for charing the story of your Grandmom, she must have been an extraordinary women indeed. This sounds like a fantastic book, something I would love to read. I have yet to read a book by this author 😦

  26. November 17, 2010 5:48 am

    I’m glad now that I have another author to explore. This book, I think, would be a great place to start reading Adriana Trigiani. Thanks for the lovely review and for sharing about your grandmother. She gives very good advice!

  27. November 17, 2010 1:37 pm

    I love your memory of your grandmothers. They can be such special people in our lives. I have to read this one but I have a feeling it will take a full Kleenex box.

  28. November 17, 2010 4:12 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful book. Grandmothers can be so special.

  29. stacybuckeye permalink
    November 17, 2010 4:35 pm

    I’m a sucker for anything about grandmothers. I’d love to write a book about my own grandmother someday. I loved hearing about yours. She sounds like my kind of woman 🙂

  30. November 18, 2010 12:46 am

    My favorite lesson from my grandmother (who drove a tiny little Mercedes sports car until she was 87) was, “Don’t be afraid to put the pedal to the metal.” Driving with her was horrifying, to say the least.

  31. November 18, 2010 9:18 pm

    such wisdom your grandmother shared! I love that the stories have been passed down, so they’re part of your memories (and likely your son’s), even though you don’t *remember* them.

    This book is such a treasure! I think many readers can identify with the bond Adriana Trigiana had with her grandmothers, and the values she learned from them. This comes across even in her fiction.

  32. November 19, 2010 12:16 am

    I’ve read only one book by Adriana Trigiani which I loved and you’re right, family is a the main theme in her books, or at least the one I have read. I never knew my maternal grandmother and am not close to my paternal grandmother. I think this book might fill the gaps

  33. November 19, 2010 8:39 pm

    I haven’t read anything by this author yet, but she sounds wonderful. I definitely will have to look for this one and try out some of her fiction.

  34. November 21, 2010 1:17 pm

    This would be perfect reading for moments of “Ah ha… I have heard that before… ” tales of the old country memories racing back.

    I enjoyed your grandmother’s wisdom, especially the one relating to raising a child. As for the adage of working with friends.. the same can be said for family.

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