2 out of 4 stars
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Americans The Beautiful: An Italian American Memoir by Phillip Caravella is a nonfiction book.
In this memoir, we follow Caravellas, an American family of Italian descent. The author shares stories not just about his imminent family members, but also generations back. They are a family of immigrants who came to the United States of America with hopes and dreams for a better life. The first person who came to America was Antonio Franzolino, the father of the author’s maternal grandfather, Lucian. He arrived in New York in 1893 on a ship from Naples, Italy. The father of his maternal grandmother, Generosa, arrived in New York in 1896. In 1920, his paternal grandfather, Fillipo Caravella, left his home in Sicily and came to America to build a new home for his family. A year and a half later, his two children and wife joined him. Both sides of his family made their homes in Cleveland, Ohio.
Like so many other immigrants before and after them, Caravellas were courageous. They could see a promising future in an unknown country. I enjoyed reading about the author’s family, especially his father, Louis. He was an avid reader who installed the value of hard work and education into his children. The pride of his family emerges from the pages of this book.
“This book is not broken down into chapters because life is not about chapters. Life and living is an ongoing continuum until it is over.” This author’s statement is acceptable, in theory, even very much quotable. Nevertheless, the actual execution of the book without chapters leaves a lot to be desired. It just appears as a jumbled mess. The author states Wikipedia as a source for statistics and facts about Italian history. Wikipedia is great at what it does, but they do not design it to be cited in books.
“Denmark and Norway exist because America exists.” This is the author’s statement from the introduction and sets the tone for the rest of the book. Now, if you are not American and you are happy with your life, and country you might find statements like these laughable. It is the author’s prerogative to be biased towards his own experience but considering the title of this book, generalizing the entire nation, I don’t find it adequate.
I would recommend this book to all readers interested in a memoir centered on a generation of Italian - American families. If you want to learn more about their experience, I think this book gives a great insight into it. Furthermore, the ideal reader is an Italian-American immigrant that can relate to the story in the best way. One could say that this book caters to patriotic Americans. Just be aware of it before picking up this book.
As stated before, the lack of chapters was messy, and using Wikipedia as a source is unreliable. Besides that, this book needs another round of proofreading. There were many grammatical errors, and I don’t think that the editing was done professionally. The writing style is also very repetitive. Consequently, I would rate this book with two out of four stars.
Americans The Beautiful
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