Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Italian Wedding - Nicky Pellegrino

I doubled-borrowed a book this week, that is, I borrowed a book off my mother, who had borrowed it off someone else and promised to have it returned by a certain date. The pressure was on as I attempted to finish it by D-day. Success!

The Italian Wedding (2009) is by Nicky Pellegrino, a freelance journalist and novellist with an Italian father and an English mother. As someone whose family background is similar (Italian mother, multi-ethnic father), I could quickly identify with the family relationships and mannerisms in The Italian Wedding. The book is very Italian by nature; food features predominantly, as does the Italian temperament and a long-standing family feud thrown in for good measure. Believe me: these grudges do happen and there's no resolving them, either!

Throughout the book, there are Beppi's recipes for lasagne, ragu, melanzane, and other tips for Italian cooking. The sections where Pieta's mother, Catherine, is recalling her experiences as a young girl hitching with her friends to live in Rome were descriptive and provide the reader with a visitor's view of the city. I almost expected each of these sections to be accompanied with the byline "... as told to Nicky Pellegrino" but, considering her background as former editor of the New Zealand Women's Weekly, this magazine-style of writing is probably not surprising.

The list of characters is not extensive, which assists with plot development but also left me with a lot of unresolved questions. I felt that Audrey, Eden, Helene, Gaetana, Nikolas Rose, and others were incredibly one-dimensional, and I also wanted to learn more about what made Gianfranco, Michele and Isabella really tick. However, the heart of this book is the Italian nuclear family and Pellegrino captured this very well. The 'happily ever after' ending came about very quickly, though; being Italian, my experience of ongoing feuds is that they do not resolve so easily!

If you enjoy Italian culture and want to indulge the Italian way of doing things, then The Italian Wedding is a simple and pleasant read.

1 comment:

Random Thoughts said...

ah, reading something I used to enjoy, but won't be able to enjoy for some time to come.