Forty Years in a Day Reviewed By Conny Crisalli of
Conny Withay

Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader and volunteers with the elderly playing her designed The Write Word Game. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.

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By Conny Withay
Published on February 28, 2013

Authors: Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito
Publisher: Tate Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-62147-138-7

Authors: Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito
Publisher: Tate Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-62147-138-7

When one thinks about their past, their family roots down through generations, the tales and stories told are cherished, thoughtful and sometimes amazing. Other times intrigue, mystery, devastation and deceit fill the painful memories. In Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito’s novel, Forty Years in a Day, a blend of all envelope the pages.

With three hundred and eighty-five pages in this paperback book that has a girl with her aging father sitting on a bench overlooking the Statue of Liberty on the front cover, the reader is drawn into four generations of the Montanaro family. Including minor profanity, the book discusses its characters’ alcohol abuse, out of wedlock births and adultery in a way that makes them so similar to everyone's stained lineage. A helpful family tree graph at the beginning of the book makes one feel each individual actually existed in time.

Starting with the prologue in 1991, Clare is taking her ninety-year old father Vinny to Ellis Island where he entered America as a young boy and he starts to tell about the first forty years of his life. The book immediately switches to Caivano, Italy in 1906 where Vinny’s grandparents, Alfredo and Angelina Montanaro have two children, raising them as good Catholics. The one son leaves with his wife to start a new life in America while their only daughter, Victoria, gets pregnant and marries an abusive alcoholic. Years later, Angelina gives all their savings to have Victoria and her four young children escape her husband’s rage to live with the brother.

Almost lost at sea, Victoria does not learn of her foul husband’s death for six years as she tries to give her children a better life. Vinny, the oldest, would rather make money than be in school, Gennaro is a sickly child, Catherina’s learns about men the hard way, and Gabriella life is cut short. When Victoria learns her cruel husband is dead, she is already pregnant by her tenant Lorenzo who she later marries and they have three children, an addicted son and twins, one with mental instability.

As each generation passes and each family member’s lives are explained, patterns develop of insecurities, illnesses, addictions and abuses. Vinny and each of his siblings and step-siblings go through the Roaring Twenties and the Depression as they learn to find themselves, make life-altering errors and learn to live with their own mistakes and vices.

It is at the end one looks back and sees the common thread that somehow kept this Italian family together. A good read that shows, once again, that we are all the same, all have our hidden family secrets and all have to go through life dealing with them.

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