review copy provided by the author via TLC Book Tours
Description from Goodreads:
When an old woman is asked to tell the story of her life, she tells is an intense and poignant tale about growing up in and surviving an irrational, warring suburban family during the 1950s and 60s. The narrative is told from Lucia’s perspective as the second child where she and her siblings are caught in the middle of a lifelong war between her mother, Ruth, an overbearing, unhappy homemaker, and her father, Leonard, a manipulative, sometimes violent New York City cop. Lucia is the silent, thoughtful eyewitness to her parents’ constant and sometimes life-threatening battle.
The story is told as a memoir; each chapter describes a particular incident in Lucia’s life which shows the constant struggle between her parents and the perverse effect it has on her and her siblings. From her complicated and unwanted birth, to her witnessing a suicide at age 3, to her stint as a runaway at age 14, the story progresses to the final crisis where as a young woman, she is turned out of her house and banished from her family forever.
This timeless story of one woman’s courageous attempt to come to terms with her past and the troubled family that dominated it is powerfully and poignantly told.
The Tale of Lucia Grandi is told from the perspective of Lucia as an old woman looking back on her life as she tells her life's story to a doctoral student. As such, there is a certain understanding of the causes and effects of the events in her life that wouldn't be in evidence if the story were told by her younger self. The story of Lucia's life is for the most part, quite sad and unstable. She has a stable home in that both mother and father are present, but they are actually her biggest problem. Her mother is cold and seemingly uncaring towards Lucia and her father has a violent temper. The parents fight constantly and there is always tension and competition between all the family members. The one point of light in her young life is her grandfather, whom she loves devotedly and who provides a young Lucia with love, affection and hope.
I loved the premise of this book. It had so much potential. In some ways, it worked for me and in others it kind of didn't. There is an issue with Lucia's age when the book begins and when she is born. The time isn't explicitly stated regarding when the interview with the graduate student takes place, but it would have to be set in the future for the rest of the story to work in the timeline. Since this isn't explained, it is a bit perplexing for the reader.
Given that Lucia is 110 when she begins her narrative, she seems to have a very good memory - at least regarding certain events in her life. I was able to rationalize this by thinking that maybe she has had a lot of time to think about her life and ponder the events and their consequences. She makes note that she has been alone with no visitors for many years. This enabled me to decide that she had spent much of her time dwelling on her life and she is then well prepared to talk about the issues and events that had so much influence on the outcome of her life.
I think that the book could use a really good editor though. While the story is compelling, there are issues with continuity and reusing the same phrases and sentiments too many times. This can be a little distracting for the reader. I found myself going back to previous chapters because this or that phrase sounded so familiar.
While the book is not perfect, I will admit that I was interested enough in Lucia's story to be disappointed at the abrupt ending and would be interested in reading what happens to her after this point. It is hard to believe that something better is not in store for her. How could she survive for so long if all she has known is sadness? I hope that Lucia goes on to have a full and happy life just to prove her judgmental parents exactly how wrong they were about her.
About Susan SperanzaONCE UPON A TIME…
…I was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island where I had an interesting and creative childhood. Once in college, I studied Psychology and Philosophy, but since “thinking” didn’t translate into earning money or job security, I worked at a variety of different and unrelated jobs both in New York City and on Long Island.
In order to keep me sane through all the craziness of life, I spent my spare time writing. Anything and everything. The culmination of this was a fantasy – The City of Light – which has recently been reissued as an ebook.
I took up the hobby of dog showing and breeding and produced many Pekingese Champions. You can see them over at our Castlerigg Pekingese website.
Somewhere in the middle of my life so far, after a great personal upheaval, I went back to school, became a High School Librarian. I managed to fulfill my childhood dream of living in the country when I finally escaped suburbia and moved to Vermont where I now happily live with my beautiful Pekes.
But I’ve never stopped writing.
My biography (as with my life, I hope) is to be continued…
Visit Susan at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
Susan’s Tour StopsTuesday, March 5th: JulzReads
Wednesday, March 6th: Books in the Burbs
Thursday, March 7th: she treads softly
Monday, March 11th: Becca’s Byline
Tuesday, March 12th: Book Journey
Wednesday, March 13th: Between the Covers
Thursday, March 14th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Friday, March 15th: Chaotic Compendiums
Tuesday, March 19th: Bookish Habits
Wednesday, March 20th: A Book Geek
Thursday, March 21st: Curling Up by the Fire
Monday, March 25th: West Metro Mommy
Tuesday, March 26th: From L.A. to LA
Wednesday, March 27th: Dwell in Possibility
Thursday, March 28th: …the bookworm…
Monday, April 1st: It’s All About Books