Monday, September 28, 2015

Eat Now; Talk Later: 52 True Tales of Family, Feasting, and the American Dream by James Vescovi

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Genre: Biography/Memoir
  • Paperback: 158 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (January 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1491831480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1491831489

Synopsis: Prepare yourself for a feast consumed in delicious bites. Stories in this collection can be read before bed, on a lunch hour, or waiting in line. They can even be shared with friends who complain they have enough to read. Together they ask the question, “How do you make modern life run smoothly for parents or grandparents who grew up when oxen were used for plowing, children left school after third grade to tend chickens, and meat was eaten only on religious holidays?

When Tony and Desolina Vescovi arrived in America, they collided with the 20th century. Born around 1900, they were stumped by telephones, banks, fast food, TV wrestling, and supermarkets. It was up to their only child, a son, to serve as their shepherd, and it wasn’t easy For example, how to explain that his job was taking him and his family 700 miles away when, in their day, sons stayed put to work the family farm? Or that it wasn’t wise to hide $10,000 in the bedroom? Or that the ice cream they just tried and enjoyed is called ‘Chubby Hubby’?

This collection of 52 bite-size stories offers a twist on the American immigrant tale and is a testament to love, loyalty, and frequent half-truths. For those who not only like to eat, but love to cook, the book includes recipes. Topping it all off is a collection of family photos.

Review: This is the sort of story collection that every family would love to have to connect them to their immigrant roots. The stories are touching and humorous and are very well-written. You can feel the author's love for his grandparents and parents, as well as his sympathy for his father, who tried to live a modern American life as well as honoring his parents Old World ideas.

There are photographs included throughout the text, which helps the reader to picture everyone in the stories. The author also includes some of his grandparents favorite recipes, which I look forward to trying out soon.

Since the book is a collection of short stories, you can read as much or as little of it at a time as you have time for--each story is a very quick read.

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Rating: Four stars

About the author
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James Vescovi’s essays about his eccentric grandparents have appeared in The New York TimesAlimentum Journal: The Literature of Food,Creative NonfictionNewsday, Gazetta Italiana, the anthology Our Roots Are Deep with Passion: New Essays by Italian-American Writers (Other Press), and other venues. His fiction and essays been published in Midwestern GothicThe New York Observer, the Georgetown Review, Calliope, and Natural Bridge. He teaches at high school English and lives in New York with his wife and three children. On warm Saturday afternoons, you can find him in his volunteer garden trying desperately to make things grow.

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