Monday, April 1, 2013
Book Review and Blog Tour: The Tale of Lucia Grandi by Susan Speranza
Book: The Tale of Lucia Grandi by Susan Speranza
Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
For: Blog Tour for TLC Book Tours
From: sent to me for blog tour review
At first, I thought this book was a memoir. It starts out with an old lady being approached by a young college student and asked to relate her life story. At first, she is reluctant to do this but then decides it's time the story is told. So she starts at the beginning and goes for it, pain and all!
The story continues in memoir style (at some point I did realize this is in fact a fiction novel!) with Lucia telling in great detail all the terrible things that happened to her as a child. It began with her earliest memory when she saw a guy commit suicide by standing in front of the elevated train and getting chopped in half.
She did have a pretty horrible upbringing. Her parents never seemed to love her, and gave all their attention to her older sister, and later her younger brother. She did, however, bond with her grandfather and he was the only true constant in her life.
Pretty much every awful thing you can think of happening to a kid happened to this girl. She had a hard time making friends, and those she did have shunned her in the end. She went to a new school and was relentlessly teased by the kids there. She was smart, but put in the bottom levels of everything. She was beat up by her dad. It goes on and on. If I had a one complaint about this book, it would be that the terrible things never let up and there never seemed to be a spark of hope. It was terribly depressing.
Yet, I kept reading, and it seemed a quick read at that, so there's something to be said for that. I think it was because the voice of this character was engaging and sympathetic. I did just really want to know what happened to her and how it all ends! Even at that, we just get to the point of her mid twenties or so when she finally moves out from under her parents. (The book is subtitled: "The Early Years" of course! Which makes me wonder if there's more.)
I added historical fiction to the genre because her growing up years take place during the 60s and 70s so we live along with her many of the historical events of the day... like Kennedy, the cold war, the moon landing, etc. It was fun to revisit this time period.
Bottom line: I can't say that I loved it, but I CAN say that I liked it!
As part of this blog tour I've asked Susan Speranza my one author question: What five books are most important or influential to you? This is what she had to say:
My Five Most Influential Books:
When I was a child, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taught me that fiction doesn’t have to be “real” and that life can sometimes be absurd. When I read David Copperfield as an older child, I discovered that even the most difficult of lives can end happily, if only in fiction. As an adolescent I learned that prose can also be poetry when I came upon Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel. As a rebellious college student, I found Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and I realized then that great literature didn’t always mean writing novels. And as an adult when I accidentally read Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore, I finally understood that writing should be art where beauty and profundity were one.
Learn more about Susan here on her website. Or follow her on Twitter and friend her on Facebook.
I'm the last one on the list for this blog tour, so if you are interested in what others have had to say, be sure to check out their reviews here.