THE SUPREME MACARONI COMPANY: A Novel about the Angelini Shoe Company ~Adriana Trigiani
“’My one journey to enlightenment gave me a rash. Go figure…Anyhow, my point is that even when you don’t make a plan of it, you will change. You will want different things at different points in your life, just as he will. Circumstances will hit you with some whammies, and you’ll fight back, and sometimes you’ll just give in to it and choose to lie down in the river and glide. Whatever you do, know that there’s a long line of us that came before you who walked in your shoes.’ Mom looked around the shop.’ It always comes back to shoes with us, doesn’t it?’” page 115-116 in New York City
THE SUPREME MACARONI COMPANY is the name of the Angelini Shoe Company’s new factory in Ohio and I found the title to be the attraction to this new book by Adriana Trigiani. I also have two friends who read every book that Trigiani writes and they are consummate Italian-Americans romantics who want to find such perfect happiness in a marriage and family; both would love this boisterous, argumentative family story.
This book is part of a family saga, which I believe to be three volumes long at this point in time. The Great Grandparents immigrated to the United State to design and make Italian shoes in Greenwich Village, NYC. One of the Great Granddaughters has discovered an artistic ability to design shoes and is trained by her Grandmother to take over the family business; Valentine wants to have it all. This is the story of her marriage to an “Old World” tanner and good business man from Italy, also of her efforts to rescue her family business in the USA. Her brother and sisters are all married with big families and the book begins with this 35 year old announcing her engagement at a Christmas Eve dinner and extended family gathering. The family is rowdy, vocal, a bit drunk, and thrilled about Val’s exciting news and worried about Charlie having lost his job. The reader can just feel the children running around and Aunt Feen, being caustic and negative.
Gianluca is an older man who has been married before and he is graciously meeting the whole family as he has recently arrived from Italy. His father is married to Val’s Gram and she now lives in the Old Country. He has a daughter from his first marriage and she is also recently married. The rules of the Italian-American family are seen as new through his eyes. Gianluca is a very romantic fellow, calm and careful. This is a story about the first 2 years of his new marriage and the lessons of a long and connected family tree.
I was constantly hungry while reading this book, no lie, there was so much discussion about food and restaurants and venues; I could have gained five pounds within the first 100 pages. As a person who is intolerant of tomatoes, it was a bit too much about all the passion wrapped up in this red fruit. Trigiani has a mastery of the dialogue for this big family and for recognizing the folks left out of the dynamics. The family becomes increasingly dependent on Val’s skills and is forming a dynasty; regrouping around the initial gifts of the family legacy.
The story became predictable as it was winding down – too predictable and the sentimentality was over the top maudlin. My prim British mum would have thought that the emotionality was depressing and displaying ignorance about what we have learned about emotions – too old school for an astute business woman with too much on her plate. This was a traditional story and maybe that is the best way to think about this book, an old school family saga before they catch up with the new century.
My friends will not care and will just be happy that TLC Online Book Tours sent me a copy of Adriana Trigiani’s new book for review. I am sure it will be a best seller and I raise a glass of champagne to THE SUPREME MACARONI COMPANY
Adriana Trigiani is honoring her aunt Violet Ruggiero with this story.
You might also enjoy her New York Times Bestseller – The Shoemaker’s Wife: A Novel