Paperback: 98 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (January 15, 2013)
The Fig Tree, which symbolizes fertility and heritage with its uniquely deep roots, dates back to Adam and Eve and the Roman Empire. In Italy, fig trees are highly revered. It is the symbol of heritage represented by this sacred tree that I wish the reader to focus on. Mary Rose Pagano is of Italian ethnic background, a passionate culture and mode of living that is entertaining and almost always, laced with zest and humor!
The reader is invited to take an unforgettable trip through the life of an amazing Italian woman who came to America to find buona fortuna (good fortune)! Maria Elena Francesca Calabria begins her life in Italy with sadness; she is only eight years old when her mother dies and her four brothers are even younger. In spite of this personal tragedy, her life completely changes when she goes to live with her wealthy grandparents, Don Michele Pietro Mautone and Francesca Mautone in their beautiful villa.
While living in this villa, Maria is groomed into a cultured, educated young lady. Maria’s four brothers attend the same parochial school, compliments of their grandparents, ensuring that all of the Calabria children are properly educated. Unfortunately, Maria’s brothers are living with their step-mother during the time Maria is living with the Mautones. This situation becomes another source of sadness in Maria’s life. Under the guidance of her grandparents, Maria grows into one of those rarest of people: a beautiful young woman with class who remains kind, loving and humble throughout her life. The Calabrias eventually move to America, passing through the gates of Ellis Island, New York, and escaping the effects of Mussolini’s camaraderie with Hitler in Italy.
Upon her arrival in America, Maria innocently becomes related to a murderer and a very promiscuous woman! Nonetheless, throughout her journey, Maria shouts out to life that whatever hardships you may endeavor along the way, the true essence of it all is that these hardships will season you to help you to love more and stronger! It is truly a tribute to the greatness of women and mothers!
This very personal Memoir is touching. You will journey along with Maria and her family as they travel from their homeland, Italy to America beginning in the 1930's. The Calabria family, as many, endured hardships, war, grief, and family struggles. However, despite the struggles, Maria is determined to look at life as a glass half full.
I enjoyed being invited to take an intimate look inside their lives, complete with family photos. Their trips to a market in New York and the foods they loved to cook, the family Holiday traditions, their pets, and amazing sense of humor. On a more somber note, as Maria and her husband, Pellegrino age, there comes a time when she has to entertain the thought of putting him in a nursing home. This is a life event as children of an aging parent that is very hard to deal with.
Maria's story is lovingly told and what a life she lived! Grab a cup of tea and enjoy the journey of this amazingly strong woman! She truly is an Inspiration to all!
About the Author, Mary R. Pagano
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Bostick Communications in order to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed above are my own. No other compensation was received. This Review post may contain affiliate links.
Logo/Images Courtesy of © 2000 - 2013 Outskirts Press, Inc.