[Review] Forty Years in a Day by Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito
Author: Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito
Publisher: Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC on February 19, 2013
Theme: A family from Italy creating a new life in New York City.
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Thank you for my free copy from Tate Publishing for the purpose of review. Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
On Vincenzo Montanaro's ninetieth birthday, he and his daughter Clare take a trip to Ellis Island, New York. He shares with his daughter the story of his family. As he shares from his heart, Clare for the first time begins to understand her father better. In the past he'd shared a few stories, but some memories he'd held back until now.
His story began in Italy in 1900. Vincenzo's mother Victoria and her family live in Caivano, Italy. Victoria and her older brother Dominick are close, he is married to her best friend Genevieve. Victoria begins a relationship with Salvatore, whom her father had demanded she avoid, but her interests blossom in to love. Victoria and Salvatore marry and have four children in four years. Victoria and her children emigrate to America. She and her children create a new life with the help of her brother and his wife in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. Vincenzo is the eldest child in his family. The story ends during the Depression years. All of the people in his immediate family will have strong parts in this story.
Wow! I love this book. I'm now interested in reading more stories with this theme, preferably of an Italian family.
This story reminds me of how crucial it is for a generation to share their stories with the next generation. It gives proceeding generations the richness of where they've come from. I feel that often people hold back from sharing their life stories because they've made mistakes and are embarrassed or ashamed. It is important for children and grandchildren to "know" where they've come from. By sharing, it brings intimacy and a stronger bond.
Why I gave this book 5 stars:
- The author team of Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito both compliment each other well in writing this story. The narrative, setting of the scenes, the tone, characters, dialogue, were all wonderful. All of these drew me into the story from the first page to the last. I was apart of the story!
- Forty Years in a Day is a family saga. It's a huge story encompassing several members of a family, as well as extended family and friends.
- Through this family I was able to understand several things: how an immigrant felt in coming to a new country, traveling in steerage by ship, not understanding English, a new culture, safety and health of children, living in a place where natural born citizens look down on an immigrant, hazardous working conditions, poverty, sick children, education system for a new immigrant, gang warfare, prohibition, the Depression, mental health system, gambling, alcoholism, changes in youth culture.
- New York City came alive for me from 1906 through the 1930's. I could easily picture in my mind the streets, tenement buildings, shops, vendors, factories, schools.
- The story shows the reality of life: good times and sad times, laughter and hard work, prosperous and poverty, health and sickness, new life and death.
Rodriguez coauthored Forty Years in a Day with her cousin Dianne
Vigorito. Throughout their lives, they had heard many stories from
family members that were fascinating, sometimes even unbelievable, and
decided to piece together the puzzle of tales. Through research and
interviews, their goal was to create a fictional story that follows a
family through several decades, providing the reader an opportunity to
stand in the shoes of a past generation and walk in search of their
hopes and dreams. What they realize in the process is that human
emotions have been the same throughout generations - the difference is
how people are molded and maneuvered by the times and their situations.
Mona Rodriguez has her MS in environmental Management from Montclair State University. She is presently a trustee on the board of directors of a nonprofit foundation created to benefit a local public library and community. She lives with their husband in New Jersey, and they have two grown sons.
For more information, please visit the official website.
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