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Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  1,220 Ratings  ·  246 Reviews

"No one ever reads just one of Trigiani’s wonderfully quirky tales. Once you pick up the first, you are hooked.” —BookPage

New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani shares a treasure trove of insight and guidance from her two grandmothers: time-tested, common sense advice on the most important aspects of a woman’s life, from childhood to the golden years. Seamlessl

Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published (first published November 1st 2010)
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Feb 07, 2011 Marjanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this more than I did. I was expecting (and hoping for) a nice story about the author's grandmothers and what she learned from them. There is some of that, but as the book goes on it kind of turns from memoir into self-help. The author seems to think that if we all just lived more like her grandmothers that the world would be a perfect place. Even worse, nearer to the end the author starts throwing in her own parenting and life opinions in. I am not familiar with the author outsi ...more
Lucy and Viola were trailblazers of their time. Modern women in a world that was changing faster than most could imagine. In Trigiani’s newest release Don’t Sing at the Table she tells the stories of these two incredible grandmothers that influenced her life. Both from different parts of Italy and transplanted to the United States just in time for the industrial age of factories and US made products. Both Lucy and Viola in their own respects were women of fierce passion and fulfilled lives.

In a
Aug 06, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love reading about families and their histories and I have always been interested in my grandparents lives, so this book was a good fit for me. I love to see how life shapes a person and how their culture plays a big part in that. The first time I traveled to Italy it gave me a whole new perspective on my grandparents that I didn't have before because so much and many of the traditions were rolled into what they knew from the towns they or their parents originated from. I liked the pictures th ...more
I've loved Trigiana's work since her fictional Big Stone Gap series, the first of which I pre-ordered because I had lived in the area as a child and couldn't wait to read the book. Her novels always focus on family relationships, but in this book the focus is on her wonderful real-life grandmothers.

Both came from Italy to the U.S. with little education and little money, but learned from their experiences and became fountains of wisdom. They shared that wisdom with the author, in words and actio
Dec 29, 2010 Janel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard Adriana speak at two library conferences and enjoyed her stories immensely, but I hadn't read any of her books. Curious to learn more about her and her family, I decided to read this book first.

At first I had a hard time getting into the book and relating to her stories, but as I got further into the book I found a few connections. It turns out her one grandmother grew up & lived 20 minutes north of where I grew up. Both my grandmothers were at one time in their lives seamstresses j
Dec 01, 2015 Stacy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book about two fascinating women. Of course, I don't agree with all of their advice, but they certainly had much to share of value. My favorite from Viola is," Keep illusion on the screen in the local movie house; in life, face facts." My favorite from Lucy is," You only have one reputation. When your good reputation is gone, it's gone." I also enjoyed seeing inspiration for her fiction in her family and those around them.
Nov 26, 2010 Andrea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrea by: a Giveaway win!
I kept thinking, what's the point? Her grandmothers' lives were interesting, but how were they different from all the other young Italian immigrants who struggled to make it here? I think this book would have been a lot more effective if it were written in novel form and from the grandmothers' points of view. From the author's perspective, it was sort of all over the place, moving back and forth between Viola and Lucy, and I feel that the real lessons that Trigiani was trying to get across were ...more
Apr 17, 2011 Vicki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I didn't find this book to be very interesting or enlightening. It seemed like a great book for the author to write to share with her family, but I just didn't really care enough to read her thoughts on life. I read it, and although her grandmothers seemed like very great women, I prefer not to read this kind of book. It was well written as are most of Ms. Trigiani's books, but a little preachy. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Mary Bruno
I got this book thinking that it would be full of anecdotes of growing up with Italian grandmothers. While this was a good memoir of Trigiani's experience with her grandmothers and an interesting account of the successes of immigrants to the US, it was not the story I expected. I thought at times it was a little preachy and did not have the touching stories of moments spent with relatives that are no longer here.
Aug 18, 2012 Priyanka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The word you're looking for is 'rich' -- in detail, in experience, in lesson, in expression. Cooking tips, success formulas, how to be a good hostess, parenting lessons... you name it, you got it... all packaged together in this delightful read which makes you smile as well as makes you well up and leaves you feeling enriched.
Hope I get to meet you some day signora Trigiani!
Mary Ellen
I won this book from the Goodreads giveaways and can't wait to read it! It was delivered promptly and in good condition. I will let you know what I think when I read it! Thank you Goodreads!

Not one of my favorite books by Trigiani. It was a little slow, but she shows a definite doversity in her writing. I'd like to see another "Big Stone Gap" book.
Mar 26, 2016 Debra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Loving Trigiani's books, I thought this would be a look at how she came to be the person she is. It did not disappoint. Both of her grandmother's were hard working first generation immigrant women who imparted that drive to the next generation. While Viola achieves a life of comfortable wealth, she worked well into retirement and loves it. Lucia lives a simpler life partly forced on her by the sudden death of her husband at a very young age. Her business must support her family and she achieves ...more
Trigiani, Trigiani, Trigiani. I love her and her grandmothers – Lucia and Viola. Simple and sensible things said in a way that doesn’t make you feel that you are being told this is how you should lead your life. One book that I’ll keep going back to – to revise the life lessons I learnt.
Dec 06, 2010 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-2010
I went to Adrianas' book signing last night,And had to start reading her new book with my first cup of coffee this morning.I really like her as an author,after meeting can see she love what she does,which makes her so good!!!!!!
Jun 22, 2016 Gardenojoy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It was so amazing to have letters from both grandmothers that she used to write this book AND family photos from their lives! I'm enjoying Adriana's writing. I'm surprised I haven't read her before. She uses language very well.. "make sense others merely incense" I found the last chapter about "Children" what she learned from her grandmothers to be an interesting read for parents today.
Her grandmother Lucy and Viola were very strong women. Each came to the US from different parts of Italy. I'm
Feb 23, 2016 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The generation of Viola and Lucy, Adriana's real life grandmothers, is a lost treasure. People got what they needed because of hard work. What you wanted wasn't even a question. You wanted what you needed: ability to provide for your family.

This book was touching, brings back lots of memories of my own grandmother. I always have enjoyed Trigiani books, and through this one, you can see where many of her stories come from. Her "Life Lessons" are ones we should all try to live by. Respect others,
Jan 28, 2011 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a lovely tribute to the strong people in our lives who make us what we are. After reading the book I felt like I wished I had had the chance to meet Adriana's grandmothers. They were amazing people.
I'll be honest, I skipped the chapters on child rearing and money (I try not to read anything that deals with those issues), but I really liked the rest of the book.
May 31, 2016 Shelley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The only positive is the old black and white pictures included in the book. There is just something about those old photos that are fun to look at. I really wanted to love this, but it was just ordinary. These women could have come alive on the pages, instead they felt like any other Italian American immigrants. I grew up in an Italian household and I can tell you that we are certainly an animated group of people packed with personality. Missing from this story was personality and charm. The pac ...more
Apr 15, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not going to finish this. Seemed to me to be uninteresting, condescending, and disjointed. Ordinary. And not worth my time.
Joan Grubbs
Mar 23, 2014 Joan Grubbs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trigiani writes from the heart about her two Italian grandmothers and their roles in making her the person she is today. I can certainly relate to her subject, as the granddaughter of an Italian grandmother. Their love of home and hearth and their gritty determination to make a success of their life in a new homeland struck a chord with me. This was a quick and enjoyable read for me that took me back to a nostalgic, simpler time. Those who have read "The Shoemaker's Daughter" will understand the ...more
Mar 01, 2014 Alice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was one of the those memoir-ish nonfiction books that reads like it is written for the author's own family. Lots of details and information that a member of the family might care to know, but is rather boring for the rest of us readers. She tried to turn it in to lessons but they came across as authoritarian for someone who themselves has not raised a child (she is currently raising one young daughter)and I couldn't help but wonder if her grandmothers could read what she'd written in the le ...more
Maria Maniscalco
Oct 05, 2014 Maria Maniscalco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to the audio book narrated by the author during a long solo drive. I am biased as I have enjoyed all of Trigiani's books to date and got a huge kick out of listening to her voice tell this story. By nature, I enjoy listening to the stories of other people- this struck a cord in me as I never knew my grandmothers (both who were Italian and passed before I was old enough to hold a memory) so I got to live vicariously through her stories. Also made me think, what will my daughter be tellin ...more
Barbara M
I was intrigued by the title since I was often admonished as a child not to sing at the table! Plus I'm half Italian and I've really enjoyed Trigiani's books. Since we are reading Biography/Memoirs this month, it fit the bill.

I really enjoyed learning about Trigiani's very special grandmothers and their lives as immigrants to the US and how they each built a good life. The pictures that were a bit fuzzy because of their small size and the paper it was printed on (I had the paperback large print
Oct 04, 2014 Alyne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I realize this book is supposed to be about lessons from her grandmothers, but it just came off as kinda preachy and a bit long winded? I feel like this could have been a nice essay, but definitely not enough material (or not well enough presented) to be a full fledged book. The Shoemakers Wife really resonated with me, but all her books I've read since have not struck the same chord. I'm sure they are perfect for other people though :) Her grandmothers seem to have good heads on their shoulders ...more
Feb 28, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"We worry what to give our children, agonize about what gifts to give them in the hopes of choosing something special that will build a memory for them. We trudge to theme parks, take them to musicals, unveil the wonders of the circus or the thill of carnivals to give them an adventure, where they have to be brave while having fun. We want them to remember the blinking lights, the whirling Ferris wheel, and the glass boxes filled with spools of pink cotton candy. We want to give them moments, so ...more
Chocolate & Croissants
Grab yourself a cup of tea. Tuck yourself into bed, under a cozy duvet and open up Don't Sing at the Table. For me this book was charming and comforting all in one. It was about the way life should be. It had the lessons I wished we could all live by every day. It made me wish for the relationship she had with her grandmothers. I also come from migrant parents. My difference is that my parents were the only ones who migrated. My grandparents were across the Atlantic. They spoke I language I did ...more
Book Concierge
Trigiani has built a following with her contemporary novels, frequently mining her family history for plot lines or colorful characters. Now she turns her writer’s skills to crafting a biography/memoir focusing on her two grandmothers – Yolanda (Viola) Perin Trigiani and Lucia (Lucy) Spada Bonicelli – and the life lessons she learned from them. “Make your own living.” “Loving one good man is enough.” “Take a chance, and when you fail, take another.” “Leave your children your values, not your stu ...more
Nov 06, 2010 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
What a treat arrived in my mailbox yesterday . . . a Goodreads Giveaway book written by Adriana Trigiani, one of my favorite authors! I've enjoyed many of her novels, but this latest book is a nonfiction entitled Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers. I was expecting a series of funny quotes from her ancestors, but this turns out to be a delightful memoir of history, love, sacrifice, fine examples of work and ethics, and much food for thought, extremely well-written. And yes ...more
Hannah M.
We all have people in our lives who leave a mark of some sort. For Adriana Trigiani, her grandmothers Lucy and Viola had a huge impact on her. Don’t Sing at the Table is a moving and even entertaining book full of stories about these two powerhouse women and I enjoyed it immensely.

Lucy and Viola are two women who lived very full lives. They loved with all their hearts and gave everything they had to their jobs and families. From their births and childhood in Italy to their trip across the Atlant
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Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for sixteen bestsellers, including the instant New York Times bestseller, All the Stars in the Heavens, the blockbuster epic The Shoemaker's Wife; the Big Stone Gap series; Lucia, Lucia; the Valentine series; the Viola series for young adults; and the bestselling memoir Don't Sing at the Table. She is the award-winning filmmaker o ...more
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“Whever I came into the room, she'd light up, so happy to see me. No one ever in the course of my entire life was ever as happy to see me as she was. Looking back, now, I realize that you only ever need one person who lights up that way when you enter a room. One person is all it takes to give a kid confidence.” 45 likes
“Our faces will become works of art that our grandchildren will treasure.” 12 likes
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