In his memoir, my maternal grandfather, Guiseppe (Joseph) , shares many beautiful stories from his childhood in Gioiosa Marea, Sicily, which have shaped him into the wonderful man he is today. The small fishing village community in Gioiosa Marea and strong family connection set the stage for his many tales of love and struggles. Facing fascism and political unrest, my grandfather developed a strong set of personal values that have built his inspirational character. At 21 years old, my grandfather arrived to America with his eyes wide open and a strong desire to fulfill a greater dream. His journey to the new world, as portrayed in his memoir and described so vividly in our conversations, has enriched me in many ways. I was personally impacted as I learned about how he arrived from Sicily with basically nothing to live the American dream. Reading on, I felt his homesickness for his native Sicily and adjustment to the American way of life. I was inspired by his strong desire to learn the new foreign language of English and obtain citizenship, despite many obstacles he faced. Further, he inspired me as he became a foreign language teacher of three languages, fell in love, and built his own loving family here in America. His unwavering commitment to the family is also greatly revered, as he stands as a strong pillar for my entire family. My grandfather’s unwavering affinity for education and life-long learning has encouraged me to pursue educational opportunities to become a well-rounded individual. His love for his native Italy has instilled in me a great love for the country, and I am very proud to say that I am an Italian-American. And most importantly, my grandfather’s passion for writing, artwork, and language has impressed upon me the beauty of words, which has inspired me to continue my desire to write.
Grazie mille a Rachel Donfrio for providing this review!