Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review and Author Interview: Don't Sing at the Table by Adriana Trigiani

In her latest book, Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers, Bestselling Author Adriana Trigiani has us pull up a comfy chair as she tells us in her personable and affable style all about the useful pieces of advice passed down from her grandmothers.

Trigiani strikes a balance between introducing us to Viola and Lucia and their history and relating personal anecdotes about her time together with them. There are some tears, some laughs, and most of all, the desire to share the book with the incredible women dear to your heart.  This would make a great gift for the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and friends in your life - maybe even with a nice hand written letter about how much the giftee means to you.

As part of her blog tour, I had the amazing opportunity to interview Adriana about the book. Here's how it went down:

DON’T SING AT THE TABLE is a lovely tribute to your two grandmothers. If your future grandchildren would write a book about you, what might the content be?Oh my future grandchildren- what a thought! With an 8 year old girl at home- I almost can't imagine it- but will try!

I would hope that some of the lessons I learned from my grandmothers would be passed along to them. These are timeless lessons that withstand all trials and tribulations- so I would hope that the thread that was passed to me would make it safely into their hands.

It’s clear you get a lot of details for your fiction from your family. Is it just stuff that slips in or do you purposely try to find a place for such things?
I rely on technique and education (which is ongoing) to attempt to grow and hopefully perfect the craft of writing. I try to use the best tools, and do indepth and intensive research- then I throw it out the window and trust my imagination. It has never let me down. I don't deliberately use real life, but it is the context for all my fiction.

So, do you still have your polka dot dress (mentioned in the book)? And if so, what condition is it in?
It's around here somewhere! Keep in mind: I've been looking for a velvet bolero festooned with satin roses for 20 years- I know it's here- I just can't find it!

What are your favorite heirlooms from your grandmothers?
The intangibles are what I carry with me each day- ambition, determination, a sense of humor in the face of adversity, an abiding peace- and in terms of earthly things, I come from a big family, so when my grandmothers died, their effects were disbursed; but before they died, I was given gifts from them that I cherish. From Viola: a small iron bank (for dimes) that belonged to her mother, her wedding band (which I was married in), her wedding cake topper (under a dome in my living room) from 1932, and, from Lucia, a religious relic from her family (which my mother gave to me) that was passed down for many, many generations, and a gold ring with 3 knots that was returned to me upon her death, which I had bought for her with my first paycheck as an office temp.

While these things give me comfort, it's really the memory bank of time we spent, and things we talked about. These are the gifts that keep on giving.

Thank you so much Adriana!  DON'T SING AT THE TABLE is available in hardcover now. 

Read an excerpt of the book at HarperCollins' website.
Check out Adriana's website
Become a Fan on Facebook
See pictures of my tea with Adriana back in May
Follow the tour to the next stop:  November 19th at My Friend Amy 


Zibilee said...

I love that she has so many wonderful memories and heirlooms to keep from her grandmothers and think this book sounds fantastic. I have been reading good things about it everywhere and am looking forward to grabbing my own copy soon. It looks to be a great read. Thanks for the very astute interview Adriana and Lenore!

bermudaonion said...

Wonderful review and interview! I agree with Adriana that it's the memories that mean so much in the long run.

~Niki~ said...

sounds like a good book! thanks for the review.