Advice for Italian Boys

Advice For Italian Boys ( published by HarperCollins) is Anne Giardini’s second book. I like her writing. But I have to admit that I didn’t want to read her first book, The Sad Truth about Happiness, because I was sure that I’d be looking for her mother in every sentence. Her mother was the late, GREAT, Carol Shields. But when I thought about it, I realized that if she became anywhere near as popular as her mother was, I was going to have to at some point read her books. Am I ever glad I did. I definitely felt her mother’s influence in that first book, but she also has her own way of writing that I’ve come to love and look forward to.

This is a hard book to write about. It isn’t a story with a beginning, middle and ending. It’s about understanding who we are, and how we relate and interact with others. Nicolo, the middle grandchild of his nonna, Filomena Giuseppina Pavone, is the one who understands her best, and appreciates her seemingly unending supply of  proverbi, her “losenge-like adages of old-timer’s advice”. Nonna has never come to feel at home  in Canada and is often lost in memories or dreams of her youth in Arduino, Calabria. Something so common to many immigrants who arrive here beyond their youth. The only thing she has that originates from her homeland are her proverbi and she uses them often. Nicolo isn’t exactly sure what he wants in life but he thinks that taking a night class in psychology will certainly help him in his role as a personal trainer and working at the gym. With nonna’s proverbi of old world advice, and his new introduction to psychology, Nicolo attempts to better understand his relationship with his clients, as well as his family and his friends. This book is not an action thriller. It’s food for thought on how we interact and relate to others in our daily lives. I really enjoyed it.

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