Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
on 13 July 2011
This book [my fourth copy] evokes the grinding hardship of immigrants from their homeland in Southern Italy to a bewildering world where Lucia Santa stands against a system that would destroy many modern-day women should they be left widowed with children to protect and provide for in an alien world. It also reminds me of the harsh realities of my own people, the Irish, who faced the same assault on their culture as new immigrants to the US, but like the Italians, they too persevere and become first citizens of their new country. None of this was easy for either group as they did not have the cozy ease that is offered to new arrivals when their feet touch American soil today,
The relationship between Lucia Santa and her children is a complex one, made more so when she marries her second husband and adds several new offspring to the mix. Her daughter is the rock she leans on and they seem more like comrades in arms in arms than anything else, but the dialogue that flows between them is mostly hilarious and earthy. Lucia Santa is relentless as a devious, conniving mother who rules the roost with a wooden Pasta Pin. This woman must be this way as she battles for her daily crust, and neither welfare man or sly neighbors deter her from her mission, which is to get her family through life with as little bruising as possible. The brutality of her existence is fully uncovered as one disaster follows another and you see her not go down in hysterics and run to councilling, but dust herself off and figure out how to overcome the problem. My kind of woman.
Today, I live in a hilltop town in Southern Italy and I see clearly how and why those young men and women left all those years ago. The Padrone is long gone, but it is still the 'Mezzogiorno' to those in the North who pour the same contempt on these tough but delightful Southerners. Lucia Santa and all those women like her who had to leave their homeland were the backbone of a future America that thrived on their childrens labor, and for that these women have my respect.