Author: Susan Speranza
Publisher:Book House Press
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Review copy from Ligtning book promotion
Buy The tale of Lucia Grandi, the early years from amazon.com
When an old woman is asked to tell the story of her life, she tells is an intense and poignant tale about growing up in and surviving an irrational, warring suburban family during the 1950s and 60s. The narrative is told from Lucia’s perspective as the second child where she and her siblings are caught in the middle of a lifelong war between her mother, Ruth, an overbearing, unhappy homemaker, and her father, Leonard, a manipulative, sometimes violent New York City cop. Lucia is the silent, thoughtful eyewitness to her parents’ constant and sometimes life-threatening battle.
The story is told as a memoir; each chapter describes a particular incident in Lucia’s life which shows the constant struggle between her parents and the perverse effect it has on her and her siblings. From her complicated and unwanted birth, to her witnessing a suicide at age 3, to her stint as a runaway at age 14, the story progresses to the final crisis where as a young woman, she is turned out of her house and banished from her family forever.
This timeless story of one woman’s courageous attempt to come to terms with her past and the troubled family that dominated it is powerfully and poignantly told.
Lucia is 110 yr old spends her life by quoting that
"The world has all but forgotten me, like some continuing drama from which I had been excused, the world went on without me."(p-1)
So she is surprised by the young visitor in the form of Beatrice Cummings who comes to her to talk about her lie for her thesis on "Oral histories of living people" , hence she begins her reminiscence of her past life only because she doesn't want to lose the only company she had after ages...
"But what was I going to talk about? My past seemed liked a long, tedious and poorly traveled road and disappeared from the horizon the moment I looked at it..."
Her childhood swings from a complicated and difficult Ruth mother who never really wanted a second daughter and a father Leonard who was never there for his family,Leonard hopes rested on his son , he didn't have much to do with his daughters.. She shares a strained relation with her sibling older sister Lynn , who was the apple of the eye of her parents coming first in whatever she tried her hands on...Hence Lucia was the sour one of the lot, having her own mind upon things a kid who walked her own mind rather being an obedient daughter..But her layer of honesty and obedience was set in her early days..She also had some great moment in the form of Bernard her Grand pop , The true hero of her life and a friend Karen..Her rift with her mom only widened as years went by, making her rebellious...Her hatred for the family especially for her parents mounted as even beyond sky...AS years passe even Leonard's beloved daughter Lynn turns against him as he doesn't her relation with Danny whose parents outranked him living in a better settlement...Slowly and steadily her life too chnaged
"My childhood was grinding to a close and the grief and loss that too often defines the adult world, made its way into my life, changing it forever."(p205)..Turned down by her close friends and any tie that would keep her company , she started everything and everyone around her...Suicide tendency develops in her... She volunteers to Red Cross , what started off as a fanciful dream, becomes a pain...Even high school didn't help her...Losing Bernard makes her all alone in life..All her lost love and insecurity in complemented By Clliford who pursues her through vengenance...
The book flows well until the and that came abruptly..Her recollection of her early days with not much love from the family affects her family deep and down..Though she tries her best to be i control of things, things have a way of controlling her..She moves on well through all her years...Lucia is a kind of character who would stay for some time..But the problem with her is the reminiscence is through her early days and there is no connection with the old woman who recalls her own tale so I was connected to the young girl and found the old Lucia as a totally different person...Susan has done justice to the early days of Lucia had she paid more attention to the end and pulled them together, it would have been a real master piece..