Thursday, February 21, 2013

Julie's Review: All This Talk of Love

Summary: It’s been fifty years since Antonio Grasso married Maddalena and brought her to America. That was the last time she saw her parents, her sisters and brothers—everything she knew and loved in the village of Santa Cecilia, Italy. Maddalena sees no need to open the door to the past and let the emotional baggage and unmended rifts of another life spill out. But Prima was raised on the lore of the Old Country. And as she sees her parents aging, she hatches the idea to take the entire family back to Italy—hoping to reunite Maddalena with her estranged sister and let her parents see their homeland one last time. It is an idea that threatens to tear the Grasso family apart, until fate deals them some unwelcome surprises, and their trip home becomes a necessary journey. All This Talk of Love is an incandescent novel about sacrifice and hope, loss and love, myth and memory.

Review: All This Talk of Love is about family and the ties that bind us to them. It is about one family's tragedies and triumphs. It is about understanding your parents and understanding yourself. It's about survival and living.

What I loved about the book what the way Mr. Castellani got us into each of the characters heads at various points in the book. We got to know them not only by their own thoughts but the thoughts of the other members of the family.

The character that drove me the most nuts was Prima. She is the epitome of a "helicopter mom". Her boys are her life, so much that her marriage suffers. She's a bit over the top. She's the opposite of mother, Maddelena. For me, she's got too much time on her hands. She throws her sons and their friends a party with alcohol.  Not only that but she's proud of her twin sons when they have a threesome with a girl at the party!! Seriously?!! Then she becomes obsessed with the girl and essentially stalks her. I just wanted to smack her throughout the book.

Frankie is an intellectual who also suffers from depression. He's the baby of the family and I also looked at him as the replacement child. I wonder if he felt the same way his whole life. There is no doubt that even though he's the furthest from his parents, he is the most dedicated to his parents. Specifically, Maddelena since he calls her every night at 11:01.

Mr. Castellani depicts realistic family dynamics and also how Alzheimer's affects the family and the one afflicted with this horrible disease. It's obvious he did his research to truly have a realistic view of the disease.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel and the realistic depiction of family. I did feel that it was a bit slow in parts and I wanted the trip to Santa Cecilia to happen a bit earlier in the book.

Final Take: 3.75/5



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