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

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,846 ratings  ·  317 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

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Harper (first published November 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  1,846 ratings  ·  317 reviews

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Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
A FANTASTIC read--author Trigiani (Big Stone Gap series, Lucia, Lucia) writes her first nonfiction piece about her two Italian grandmothers and the advice they gave her about life, love, and work.
My own Italian grandmother died 10 years ago, before I graduated from college, and Viola (Trigiani's paternal grandmother) sounds *just* like her. I felt like I was learning from her as I read this. But Italian or not, everyone is going to find something that resonates with them in this gem of a book.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Carol Lander
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I felt like I was reading about my own experience with my own Italian grandmother! Same era, same traditions, same deep ties to female ancestors.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love learning every aspect of her life through her many books. A blueprint to a rich full life.
Dec 17, 2010 rated it liked it
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 just
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Mary Bruno
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
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.
Aug 14, 2012 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!
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Both my grandmothers originated from Italy. Reading this book reminded me of the values, morals, and traditions I treasure from them both. As with the author's grandmothers they were both very different yet so similar. Thank you Adriana, for bringing my grandmothers back to me and allowing me to relish in their memories once again. ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She hit the spot right on. Viola and Luciana did well.

The only way you can't give this book 5 stars is if you are a soulless, heartless person with a family to take care of you.

Great stories that I will tell as many people I can. Makes me hope

Yes I took notes and you will too. Families like hers don't exist anymore.
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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!!!!!! ...more
Dec 31, 2010 rated it liked it
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. ...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.
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm not going to finish this. Seemed to me to be uninteresting, condescending, and disjointed. Ordinary. And not worth my time. ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Connie D
I'm jealous of how much Trigiani knew about her grandmothers and how well she knew them. Although I grew up living near one of mine, I sadly never knew the details of her life. I never peered into her past work spaces or really knew what made her tick.

I have to admit I was a little exhausted by how much Trigiani's grandmothers worked and accomplished, but it reminded me how tireless that generation seemed to be, doing so much by hand. Despite the busyness of our lives now, we certainly have mor
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books-audio
A writers memories of her grandmothers and the life lessons they taught her. Upbeat and enjoyable on its own but also a great book for fans of Trigiani. It was easy to see that she drew on many of her family experiences in her writing. Interesting to see how her grandmonthers informed her life and her writing.
Somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars. I enjoyed Trigiani's exploration of the lives of her grandmothers and the lessons they passed on to her. If the book had been only a memoir, I think I would have rated it 4 stars. However, Trigiani leaves out large sections of her grandmothers' lives including all the years they raised their children and became grandmothers. It almost seems like she tells you their lives from birth to 35 and then skips ahead to the final days of their lives. I would have liked ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you are a reader of Trigiani's books, you will get more insight into her inspirations for her characters in her fiction books. (ex: the last name Ducci, first name Giacomina). It made me smile thinking of the women of that era as were my grandmothers, one Italian, one German. It does get preachy at the end (the chapter after all is called Belief, so no real surprise.) But it does contain a truism. Trigiani writes nice sentences. ...more
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 fict
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Kelly Renee
Jun 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book on a whim because it was in the Kindle $2 deals or whatever it was and I thought, hmm it could be interesting. Well unfortunately I was disappointed with this book of "advice". It's a fairly charming concept to write about lessons learned from your two smart, strong, Italian grandmothers. But this fell quite flat for me.

The author idealizes her grandmothers, which is a normal and sweet thing to do, but many parts of the book elicited an eye-roll for me. I just felt that the n
Oct 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
What a treasure of a small book this is. I stayed up into the wee hours of the night because I just couldn't tear myself away from the story of Viola and Lucy and how they operated in the world. To say that Adriana Trigiani benefited from having them as grandmothers is an understatement.

I loved that both grandmothers had a strong interest in some area of dressmaking. Viola in the heart and hard work of factory sewing, and then her own blouse-making business; and Lucy in her devotion to clients
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Beloved by millions of readers around the world for her "dazzling" novels (USA Today), Adriana Trigiani is “a master of palpable and visual detail” (Washington Post) and “a comedy writer with a heart of gold” (New York Times). She is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen books in fiction and nonfiction, published in 38 languages, making her one of the most sought after speakers in the ...more

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