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Joe's Fruit Shop & Milk Bar

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  15 reviews

A captivating true story that will speak to generations of Australians, from the author of Mezza Italiana.

'Nonno Anni gives me a nudge. "You know, when I first came to Australia, I knew that my life would change forever."'
Leaving the small village of Fossa in Italy in 1939 to meet a father he barely remembered in a place that was far from everything he knew, fifteen-year-

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published February 1st 2015 by ABC Books
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Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and entertaining read about an Italian family who made their mark in Brisbane. Zoe Boccabella is 'Joe's' granddaughter and she tells his story, which is the story of so many migrants seeking a better life in Australia, with much honesty and love. I guess you would call this a work of creative non-fiction. It is written from both the author's point of view using her own memories of her Italian relatives and from the migrants' points of view. I loved reading about local landmarks and ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the story of life in Italy pre WWII, then the migration to Australia, the contrasts of Joe and his father. I learnt a lot about the internment situations during the war. I did struggle a bit with the way the story jumped about era's. Also I 'read' the audio book, so the Italian names were difficult to remember, probably would have been better actually read the book. Daniela Farinacci reads well. ...more
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-challenge
Really enjoyed this. Well written, interesting and I wanted to hear more. Thankfully there is more - a followup book! To think that Joe, arrived with nothing but a half empty suit case and no English! I wish I could have been so successful. Wonderful to think that he made such a place for himself and his family here in Australia...well done Joe.
Marisa Parker
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A truly engaging read. With my Italian family background, I thought the characters were portrayed so personably and I empathised with the traditional culture and challenges that would have been faced. It was also a really interesting read about Queensland's history and response to migrants in the latter half of the 20th century. What an incredible family! ...more
Anna Davidson
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A slow, meandering story of an Italian migrant family. Reading this tale taught me a lot about the migrant experience in the 30s and 40s, as well as making me think about my grandfather’s experience as a Hungarian migrant in the early 1950s.
Lawrence Molloy
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
As a Brisbanite and QLDr, this book brought back lots of memories. Enjoyed the back half more than the start but worth reading. Only point of caution, a family history story isn't a page turner if you're not part of the family ...more
Helen Gilbert
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
A very interesting true story of an immigrant family and their subsequent family and work life
Snippets strung together to form narrative.
Bronwyn Rykiert
This is the best story I have read in recent times. I loved that it was set in Brisbane for most of it and it was interesting finding out about the Italians and how they were treated during the war.
Jo Brand
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! A really great story of the journey of an Italian immigrant, actually two because it not only follows Annibale or 'Joe's' story it also follows Francesca, both the author's grandparents. As a history buff it was great reading of all of those locations in Brisbane where the story happened. Knowing these places now, I got a real flavour of parts of Brisbane in the 40s, 50s and beyond which are no longer there. The author's descriptions of the treatment of the Italian migrants both before ...more
Debbie Terranova
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A thoroughly enjoyable memoir, written in honour of the author's grandfather (Annibale Boccabella, also known as Joe) who migrated from Italy to Australia in 1939 at the age of 15. At the time, integration into this country was not easy, due to the onset of war and severe restrictions imposed on 'enemy aliens' by the Australian government. The book covers not only the life and times of Annibale and his family, but also the war and post-war eras in Brisbane and the Granite Belt to the west. In ev ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The sotry flows through different countries, landscapes and decades in history. One can easily identify with the main character Joe (Annabile) as his experiences as a migrant, eventually helping out others. I'm glad he was eventually embraced by a more modern Australia eventually, despite the hardships of earlier detention and racism. ...more
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great story of the struggle and hard work of immigrants to build a life for themselves from nothing. I can't imagine spending so many hours working with no real time for family let alone holidays. But it was what they needed to do to give opportunity to future generations. ...more
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful recount of a family’s migrant experience. My connection, Mum born in Fossa and immigrated to Australia following WW2, made this an emotional read.
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Zoë Boccabella is an Australian author whose books have been much acclaimed, shortlisted for both popular and literary awards and published internationally. Her writing is influenced by her migrant ancestry, spoken histories and recipes handed-down, alongside travels in Europe and Australia. With a degree in literature and sociology and a Master of Philosophy, Zoë has also worked as a researcher a ...more

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