Book Club: Lucia, Lucia
She Said: Lucia, Lucia
I love to read! My mother taught me to read at such a young age that I actually don’t remember not being able to read. I love books. No matter what trials have been going on in my life I’ve always been able to seek temporary refuge in books. Two and half years ago I actually started a book club with some of my college girlfriends. Some of the best moments of the past couple years have been discussing books with my girlfriends. But, what many people may not know is that there is also a book club that is comprised of just the authors of this blog! RJ and I are always reading books together. At first we used to just recommend them and then discuss them later and that was fun. But, now it’s even more fun because we take turns reading to each other. RJ reads to me while I fold laundry and I read to him when he helps with the dishes. Since, I spend so much time in bed because of one health problem or another (and the Metformin is not working out well- another wrench in the plans) reading has become a treasured respite from stress and pain right now. We can always afford to read because it’s free so that’s nice, too! Plus, we get a chance to talk about things we learn from books and get to know each other even better.
We’ve recently read a book that I originally read with my college girlfriends: Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani. I loved the book so much that I told RJ that we should read it together, too. He saw how I devoured it and heard bits about it from my impassioned speeches while reading it (I’m sorry, I must say what’s on my mind when I read) and reading out loud certain sections that I particularly loved. I have to say that I discovered even more about the book because of reading it again.
Lucia, Lucia is quite possibly the most visual and tactile novel that I’ve ever read. Its lush descriptions really make you smell and taste the food that’s being described. I feel like I know exactly what Greenwich Village looked like in the 1950’s and what it felt like to walk through B. Altman’s department store. My favorite parts of the book are when Lucia describes clothing. I feel like her own wardrobe is an extension of my dream wardrobe- the gold dress, the Ava Gardener outfit, and even her everyday clothes. I love hearing about the clothes that are designed and constructed in the Customs department at B. Altman’s, where she works, and is possibly the happiest. I can understand her happiness because I love clothes and beautiful things, too. I really feel transported when reading this book and it’s the perfect escape to a happier and seemingly simpler time. Any fashionista will enjoy the lesson in period fashion!
While the clothes and descriptions of life are beautiful, I also like this book also for the fact that the characters are so wonderfully developed. I feel like Lucia’s papa, Dante, Rosemary, Delmarr and Ruth are old friends! The reader learns not only from Lucia herself, but also from the wonderful cast of friends and family that surround her. I also like that while the book does have mysteries to solve none of them are gory or scary. And while it is romantic it isn’t salacious or smutty. The language in the book isn’t terribly strong either, using just a couple of unrepeatable words, but just a couple.
I love this book for so many reasons! But, I discovered a new reason upon reading it with RJ. I love it because I found a way to not be just a spectator in the story, but I found the way it’s applicable to me. Lucia loves beautiful things and beauty in general. Her father remarks that it’s her greatest talent, but also her flaw (page 135). After looking back in my life and frankly examining some things now I’m very challenged to think that love of beauty can become a fatal decision. It’s good to appreciate the beautify all around you and not get weighed down by the sadness or stress in life, but it can be dangerous to become too absorbed in beauty. I can see evidence of being consumed by appearance all around me. Celebrities are mocked for weight gain, yet they are also scrutinized for plastic surgery or dieting. In my own life, I see events or relationships that I’ve pursued based more on a desire for appearance or an attraction to the surface than by a desire for general learning or person’s company. I realize how blessed I am by my relationships with RJ, family and some wonderful true-blue friends. I’m challenged after rereading this book to find out what things or relationships that I’m prettying up to be more than are or what surface appearances I am attracted to. I would love for people to think that I’m pretty, stylish and capable. But, I’d rather people thought that I was sweet, wise and capable because those things are also true in my heart- not just in how I present myself.
Now, if I’ve made it sound like this book is too serious, rest assured that it’s thought provoking but also delightful. It’s a quick, easy read that will have you both smiling and possibly crying. I love books that help me escape, but I love it even more when they can teach me something. This book does both- go read it for yourself!
Kari’s Rating- 10
He Said: Lucia, Lucia
Kari has a book club that she’s in with people that we went to college with and sometimes I hear just enough about a book to make me curious to read it. Then I’ll see it sit on Kari’s nightstand as she reads it ten more times and I have to see what the big deal is. Because of this, Kari and I started reading books together aloud. Sometimes I’ll be able to read to her for a chapter, and sometimes she’ll read to me for a chapter. That’s how I found Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani. It’s a great read. I never wanted us to have to stop and move on to doing something else.
There’s a lot going on in Lucia, Lucia. There’s so much going on that I don’t know just how much I can talk about without giving anything away. The main focus is the romantic entanglements of dressmaker Lucia Sartori in the early 1950’s. Given the postwar environment she lives, and her Italian background her life is rife with tension. Tradition butts head with a modern world. Should she stay a working girl or get married and settle down? Will she focus on surface glamour, or try to build a life of substance? These are all questions expertly dealt with in this book.
Where Trigiani really shines is the lush details in this book. The descriptions of what people wear and how things feel is amazing and really paints the scene for you in your mind.
This book is really entertaining and thought provoking at the same time. I really enjoyed it.
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