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August 16, 2011

Charming Story: Queen of the Big Time

The Queen of the Big Time: A NovelThe Queen of the Big Time: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 2004 by Simon & Schuster
ISBN 9780743239288
Read August 2011

I picked this book up at a charity library sale because I liked the book cover (it is not the one shown here - this is the cover for the paperback, Amazon no longer has the hardcover it seems). I think it was originally purchased in the UK, since the price on the cover is in pounds. You can see the cover of my copy in my vlogs. It became my pool book after I finished Vaccine-nation. It was an excellent book to read while lounging in the pool this summer.

I wasn't sure if I would like it after reading the book jacket synopsis. I thought it was going to be more about how a village of Italians tried to recreate their Italian town in America "down to the very last detail of who lived next door to whom." But instead it was a charming story of what I think is the first generation Italian-Americans and the importance of remembering your roots while pushing ahead in life.

I could relate so much to Nella. The unrequited love that she didn't let go of until it was too late to enjoy what she had in front of her. It made be think about the choices I've made in life - times I did not pursue a dream but pursued the lot I was given to the best of my ability. And maybe learned a little bit about being content and making the best of things. But mostly, it was the sense of remembering where you came from, who you are, and taking joy in living in the present.

The only negative thing I have to say about the book is the point where Nella pictures her future alone and seems to be what she actually wants.
I dream about a home of my own, and as often as not, I imagine a big, rambling Victorian on Garibaldi with lots of furniture and a big, ktichen and one tenant: me... Why don't I crave a wedding day and the title of wife like all the other girls?
And then on the very next page she is accepting a marriage proposal. Yet, again, I can very well see myself in Nella's reaction. While I'm content for the most part in my house alone with my dogs and cats, if someone I cared about should propose I wouldn't say no. And Nella does care for her beau. (I'm trying not to spoil it for anyone that hasn't read the book).

Ordinarily I like some angst or drama in my family stories. However, I was not put off by the fact that the Great Depression did not affect the town of Rosetta (might have, had it not been stated that the town was spared many of the hardships of the times due to most residents growing their own food). There was a bit of drama when the men went to war, not everyone returned.

Like I said it was a perfect summer pool book with its lazy paced, well developed story. It was not without emotional impact. I became teary-eyed on a couple of occasions and found myself fondly remembering simpler times. If you like a bit of romance, but not so much that it's a mushy story, and a family story without the doom and gloom, then try The Queen of the Big Time. I will definitely be checking out Adriana Trigiani's other books.

Did you find a perfect summer read? I would love to know what you thought was the best summer read, please leave me a comment.


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