Monday, March 25, 2013
Book Review: “The Tale of Lucia Grandi: The Early Years” by Susan Speranza
Published: October 20, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Summary (from the back of the book):
When an old woman is asked to recount the story of her life, she tells an intense and poignant tale about growing up in and surviving a warring suburban family during the 1950s and ‘60s. Lucia and her siblings are caught in the middle of a lifelong battle between her unhappy, homemaker mother and her father, a manipulative and sometimes violent New York City cop.
Written 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 the family. 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.
My Thoughts: If I had to choose one word to describe this book, it would be effective. This is not a warm and fuzzy book, it is a book fraught with pain and distress and, frankly, that is how I felt reading this book. I normally read in bed before going to sleep and, every night that I read this book, I suffered through horribly stressful dreams. No, it wasn’t pleasant, but it is a credit to this book and Speranza’s writing that it effected me so.
There were things about this book, however, that irked me. The first is probably very frivolous complaint on my part, but it did rub me wrong. I’m not sure what the point of framing this book around an old (109 years old!) woman looking back at her life was meant to be. This is never tied up and is only mentioned in the first chapter. Plus, if Lucia is 109 years old and it born in the 40s, that would set that first chapter at 2040 or so. From some reason, that just irritated me the more I thought about it.
I didn’t find the end of the book especially satisfying. If anything, it made things feel unfinished. I’m hoping, as this book is subtitled “The Early Years” that Lucia’s story will continue and then this will be a moot point.
Finally, I run hot and cold over the character of Lucia. Her life is unbearably horrible and the fact that she survives is amazing, but she isn’t always the most likable or sympathetic character. She is a trouble maker and she has an attitude—understandable, yes…but I really felt like I wanted to shake some sense into her several times during this book.
This was not a perfect book for me. But, as I said, if Lucia returns for the later years, I will definitely be there to see what happens!
Want to read what others think? Check out the other stops on the tour!
Tuesday, 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
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
This review is part of a blog tour by TLC Book Tours. I received a copy of the book to read and review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are mine, and mine alone.
AFFILIATE LINK: Purchase this book at Amazon.