Friday, January 10, 2014

Book Review: "Pieces of Someday" by Jan Vallone

Pieces of Someday Jan Vallone
Published: November 23, 2013
ISBN-10: 9780988478435
Genre: Memoir
Source: Netgalley
Highly Recommended

At the age of forty-four, Jan Vallone is everything her Italian American parents brought her up to be -- a lawyer, wife and mother who owns a vintage home and takes European vacations. But instead of feeling happy and successful, she's consumed by frustration and anxiety that threaten to shatter her marriage and have dimmed her faith. 

Discarding prosperity and prestige, she takes a job teaching English at a yeshiva--an Orthodox Jewish high school, though she was raised Catholic. There, she opens her heart to her students, who bloom under her tutelage and teach her the meaning of faith and fulfillment. 

Set in New York, Seattle and Italy, Pieces of Someday portrays how one woman fuses the facets of her life -- family, career, ethnicity, spirituality and dreams -- into a cohesive picture as luminous as stained glass.

My Thoughts:
Oh, Jan Vallone--you had me at Seasonal Affective Disorder!

I will admit right off that I had a very personal connection with this post.  I could relate to so much of what Vallone wrote about--being stuck in the wrong career, trying to find your calling, dealing with family of origin issues, and--yes--the gray dreariness of the Pacific Northwest.  When a reader encounters a book that makes such a connection, it is hard not to love it.

But what about a reader who doesn't have the same connection?  Is this still a book they might want to read?  I would say yes.  Vallone's prose is just beautiful.  Her chapters read more like essays and were not always in chronological order, which I quite liked. I think that structure really added a nice dimension to the book.

This book deals with spirituality--Vallone is Catholic and begins teaching at a yeshiva--but it isn't overpowering and definitely falls more in line with spirituality than religion.  Each "part" begins with two excerpts--one from the Bible and one from the Torah, which sets the theme for the following chapters.  However, Vallone never comes across as preachy in any way.

Pieces of Someday is a book that I will not soon forget and, even if you are comfortable in your vocation and have no interest in spiritual biographies, I think anyone would find this to be a worthwhile book.

I received an electronic copy of the this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

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