I Love You Like a Tomato Author:Marie Giordano ChiChi Maggiordino will do anything to get God's attention. She will hold her breath, stand on tiptoe for an hour, walk a mile backward, climb all stairs on her knees... anything. When her grandmother teaches her how to use the Evil Eye, telling her it's how Jesus Christ made his miracles and how the Italians got rid of Mussolini, ChiChi... more » realizes it's what her prayers have been missing. Now she can get started on the business of making her mother happier by helping her find love, and healing her brother's weak lungs.
But ChiChi's family lives in Minneapolis, and it's the 1950s. For an Italian immigrant family, sometimes it seems like nothing can make life easier. ChiChi's mother still pines for her husband, a long-dead American soldier; ChiChi's brother is disdainful of her sacrifices and penance -- he doesn't understand what his older sister already knows, that sometimes God needs to be bribed.
When her grandmother passes away, ChiChi steps up her search for meaning and happiness, but it seems to be fruitless. And she struggles, the way so many women do, because her love for her family is suffocating, even while it fulfills her.
It's not until she meets two Italian dwarves, and they teach her of the ancient clown tradition, the commedia dell'arte, that she comes to understand that in order to make everyone else happy, she herself must be happy.
But first she must find her own way in the world... and learn to accept that not even the power of the Evil Eye can keep people from changing.« less
For anyone who is Italian-American or loves ethnic-flavored reads, this book is a gem! The story of ChiChi and her mother, grandmother and younger brother is followed as 2 year old ChiChi and family migrates to America in the 1940's and continues through the 1960's. Good observations about the hard knocks and misery that immigrants experienced arriving in an unknown country. I enjoyed the quirky, tough character of ChiChi and her relationship with her brother was endearing. Marie Giordano has a clean, stark style of narration and I enjoyed the lapses into ChiChi's inner thoughts throughout. Being Italian myself, many of the expressions, emotions, language and gestures were amusing and familiar to me. I am much looking forward for book #2 in the trilogy to come out.
What a find. Quirky immigrant story, very unique yarn. Well narrated, Italian-American, experience (post WWII). Written in an opinionated child's voice, charming and relatable. I lost this book about midway through, since it is a small paperback that fit in my purse. I never forgot about it. I moved and realized it was not among my things. Finally nabbed a copy thru Amazon and loved being able to finish it. Great brother sister story, great coming of age tale, easy to read for any age. Review on jacket says this book will resonate with anyone who has ever left home in search of different life. I agree especially since I paid for it twice.
Going in, I thought this was going to be a book about The Italian Immigrant Experience in America. In many ways it was, but mostly it's a book about growing up, understanding your family, and figuring out who you are.
The relationships in this book are complex and difficult. I found myself taking turns loving and wanting to smack each character. The heartbreaks are real, and yet you find yourself hoping for the best because the characters keep pushing on and working for more.
ChiChi is a great character and it's amazing to watch her grow from a two year old to being 18 and ready to leave home. Throughout this journey, she leaves Italy and has to learn what it means to be an American. Plus there's the hell of being a teenager and finding out that moms have secrets.
The relationship between ChiChi and her brother is beautiful and when the book ended, I wished there was one of those sections that tells you what happens to everyone in future.
A very engaging story of a brother & sister who immigrated to America with their young Italian mother and grandmother. ChiChi, the oldest child, tells the story which is at times both humorous and sad. A definite must read.
This is a wonderful story about immigrant Italian Americans written about the period just following WWII. It was enlightening to read about the family's experiences, good and bad, told from the viewpoint of a young girl who is audacious, superstitous and perhaps a little weird. She and her brother who is asmatic suffer much at the hands of their mother and the people they meet , but I learned so much about the immigrant experience of some of those who came to America thru Ellis Island. Highly recommend it. I'm definitely passing it o to my reading circle!
Wow! What a great read! Gigi hooks you in on the first page of this book! This is a quirky little story that will warm your heart and your soul. If you have any Italian or Catholic background you will soon identify with Gigi's childhood ways. "I Love You Like a Tomato" is an evolving to life for Gigi and her family. Read it and enjoy it!
"I love you like a tomato" is by turns sweet and sad, poignant and hilarious....a coming of age novel that stands full and alive and well worth the read. Three cheers. This is a first novel for this author.