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Customer Review

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good historical detail but not a good read for me, 14 April 2011
This review is from: Elizabeth Street (Paperback)
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This book is a fictional account of the lives of an Italian family and tells how they came to live in the USA, and then how their lives move forward.
I thought this was the most interesting part of the book.
Back in the southern region of the newly United Italy life was so hard and poverty so intense that even food was hard to come by. Those who could emigrated to the USA sometimes sending back money to bring the rest of the family, sometimes sending money back with plans to return home.
Two of the central characters of this book are based on the author's real grandmother and great grandmother. Around their lives the story is told with a lot of fascinating detail of what life was like at the turn of the 20th century.
Early tragic events are movingly told and give depth to the account.
This book states it is "a novel based on true events" but that is the problem. I felt I was simply reading a dry account of the facts, written without enough of a real narrative drive. I was not sure which bits were true facts and which were fiction and I stopped caring.

It is interesting enough to be recommended to anyone with relatives who did emigrate at that period of time, or even to anyone interested in recent history.
But as a novel I simply wasn't gripped enough, which is a shame.

Some reviews mention their surprise to find out how hard life was for the immigrants at that time in history. I may be older (not that old!), but there have been many films and novels showing the toughness and squalor of then. One book I recommend is A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" which is also an old black and white movie.
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4.5 out of 5 stars (54 customer reviews)
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Location: dorset uk

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