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

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,099 Ratings  ·  228 Reviews
As devoted readers of Adriana Trigiani's New York Times bestselling novels know, this "seemingly effortless storyteller" (Boston Globe) frequently draws inspiration from her own family history, in particular from the lives of her two remarkable grandmothers, who have found their way into all Trigiani's cherished novels. In Don't Sing at the Table, this much-beloved writer ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (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
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.
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!!!!!!
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.
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
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
Nov 08, 2011 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book...then read it again!

I've been struggling to find the words for this review for quite some time. Each time I try, I fall into this sappy sweet, personal zone of over sharing. Adriana has that effect on people! To know her is to love her, and to read her writing is to open a door to her family, where you are a welcomed guest.

DON'T SING AT THE TABLE: Life Lessons From My Grandmothers is Adriana Trigiani's first non-fiction book; although those of us who have read her works of ficti
Feb 20, 2011 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adriana Trigiani Fans
Recommended to Dawn by: My Mom & I love Adriana's books.
I really enjoyed this book from one of my favorite authors. Adriana is such a wonderful storyteller and after reading about her grandmothers, I can see where she has gotten the inspiration for her characters. I liked reading about Viola since my great grandparents lived in Roseto and I live in the same area. When reading this book, you can tell how much Adriana loved and admired her grandmothers. This book is a wonderful tribute to their legacy. It has made me miss my grandmother and wish that I ...more
McGuffy Morris
Nov 27, 2011 McGuffy Morris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life Lessons from My Grandmothers

By Adriana Trigiani

In this memoir, Adriana Trigiani introduces us to her grandmothers, Lucia & Viola. Through their approach to and way of life, they were lifelong role models. Their life lessons are their legacy.

Adriana writes a chapter on each woman, giving her history while giving tribute to that woman. Each chapter is a gift to that woman and to the reader, as well. Many photographs add to the beauty of the book and bring the history and the women to life
Nov 11, 2010 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fans of Adriana Trigiani's novels will recognize the women in her non-fiction book- her grandmothers Lucy and Viola have appeared in many of the characters in her fiction. Not only does Trigiani do a marvelous job of recounting the fascinating life stories of these women, she uses their lives to write a primer for living your own life.

Women like Lucy and Viola are the people who made this country great, and they jump off the pages in this delightful book. They have more than their fair share of
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
This is my first book by Trigiani, even though I think I own almost every single one of her novels. After reading this one, I'm going to need to make reading them a priority. This is more of a biography/memoir of her two Italian grandmothers and the legacy they left her through their lives and the advice they passed down to her. I really enjoyed the differences (and some similarities) between the advice given to Trigiani by her Italian Catholic grandmothers as opposed to what I learned growing u ...more
Before she was an acclaimed and popular author, Adriana Trigiani was someone much more basic — much more familiar — to all of us: a granddaughter. In her memoir Don’t Sing At The Table, Trigiani recounts the inspiring and fascinating lives of her two strong-willed, larger-than-life grandmothers. Blessed with not one but two powerful female role models, Trigiani grew up listening to their stories and learning from the trials they endured. And as she grows and matures and experiences life herself, ...more
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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.” 44 likes
“Our faces will become works of art that our grandchildren will treasure.” 10 likes
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