Author: Thomas Depaoli
Dr. Thomas DePaoli loves his big Italian American family and he proves it in his short book, Growing Up Italian in the 50’s or How Most of Us Became Good Wise Guys.
This oversize paperback book has forty one pages with a photograph of a young toddler boy shown on a gold television screen on the front cover. On the back are several paragraphs about the book contents along with two photographs, one of his parents and he and one of himself at the age of about eight years old. There are no reviews or statements from readers or other sources.
It is a very quick read with several blank half pages and approximately a dozen colored and black and white family photographs (including duplication of the back cover ones). There were a few punctuation and capitalization errors and the use of contractions and dangling prepositions are included.
DePaoli’s book is about his family during the 1950s, a time when children were to be seen and not heard, who could play outside until after dark and had no clue what computer games were. Parents and adults supervised, including other’s children and kept everyone safe and unharmed.
At the beginning the book backtracks to his parents in 1932 and throughout World War II, then moves on to his plethora of relatives and his grandparents, mentioning nuances or short tidbits of each. Half way through the book he explains family traditions like Christmas, spaghetti dinners, paper routes and Notre Dame during the era. He concludes with his participation in Little League and block baseball, then, as the decade ends, he abruptly closes the story around his twelfth birthday.
Since this reader is married to an Italian, I fully understand and get the huge family connection and how each family member from young to old debates and argues passionately, yet he or she still love each other dearly. I could literally only exchange the name of some of the relatives he mentions and have my very own book for the 1960s.
This book is really not geared for the everyday reader as it is specifically written about the DePaolis and their family history. It is recommended as a wonderful gift or memoir from Thomas to all relatives of the DePaolis or their friends since most of the stories mean so little to the average reader or tend to be mundane. Since we each have our own story to tell of our own upbringing, it is hard to be engaging, unique and interesting to outsiders in a book such as this. Thus only family members and friends can relate to this book.
Posted June 2012: