Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Early Years

The Tale of Lucia Grandi by Susan Speranza
In this book we hear the story of Lucia Grandi, a 110-year-old woman looking back on her life in growing up in the 1950s and 60s. And yes, that is as confusing as it sounds. Supposedly we as a reader are hearing her story now, except she's actually telling her story in the 2050s. Which wouldn't be that bad if this book was published 40 years from now, except unfortunately it wasn't. Also again unfortunately, it also present some of the other issues of this book.

Overall, the book felt confusing. An event would be referred to as if it were actually happening in Lucia's life. Except, several chapters later she would refer to that event again as if it hadn't happened yet. Similarly, a character would be introduced and seemingly forgotten. At least until they were randomly brought up instead several more chapters down the ground. I think one could argue that the confusion is from the fact you're listening to a 110-year-old tell her story. After all, at that age you wouldn't expect to get the sequence of events all lined up. And while that might be a justification of the structure, it still was confusing as a reader.

There were aspects of the book I liked. For one, Lucia was only a few years older than my mom, and while they had radically different childhood, it is interesting to read events that Lucia when through and think of how my mom my have dealt with something similar.

This is a long book, which in my opinion is most often a good thing. Except so much of Lucia's childhood is unhappy and depressing, you couldn't help but feel a like the mood rubbed off on you as a reader, especially reading so many pages with the same thing. That isn't to say I don't enjoy depressing stories. Except most of the time the point of reading such a tale is to see a character triumph over their situation. Instead here, we never really see Lucia triumph since this is only her telling of the early years of her life.

The book does end abruptly, and I'm definitely left curious as to what else happens in Lucia's life. Except while I'm curious, I don't believe I'm curious enough to want to read a sequel.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

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