Tony's Wife covers singer Saverio Armandonada's life starting at age sixteen in Detroit and follows him through his career around the world. Just before WWII he meets Chi Chi Donatelli when he is visiting the New Jersey Shore, and a relationship blooms.
Saverio struggles with a lot of self-esteem issues relating to a father who was cold and unmoving in his thoughts and beliefs. This struggle effects all of those in close relationships with him. He is written in a sympathetic light about the time he seems to grow up while on board a submarine during WWII. This growing up is short lived and Saverio lives life like a man child while all the women around him do all the hard things.
This is a theme throughout Trigiani's books, where a man messes up and the woman is in control of her life, her children's lives, the cooking, the money, and basically doing all the adulting as the man child runs free. Chi Chi is no different. She kicks ass and does so behind the scenes. She's a song writer, singer, mother, accountant etc. and basically stands up for herself. Most of the time.
I really enjoyed how the book was split into chapters by different parts of music, since Saverio and Chi Chi are both big band singers. I loved how it flowed throughout the years and talked about life on the road, etc. I only got a little irritated at the man child aspect while Chi Chi did it all. I mean she does it all well and is a great feminist character but I just can't handle the 'prop the man up to the children' even when he's a deadbeat. I know kids eventually figure it out, but dude let's just all tell the children the truth. "Your dad is not here because he thinks where ever he is right now is more important."
Even though this book is close to 500 pages I read it in two days. It moves fast. I'd recommend it if you enjoy books that cover a lifetime!
Description: Set in the lush Big Band era of the 1940s and World War II, this spellbinding saga from beloved New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani tells the story of two talented working class kids who marry and become a successful singing act, until time, temptation, and the responsibilities of home and family derail their dreams.
Shortly before World War II, Chi Chi Donatelli and Saverio Armandonada meet one summer on the Jersey shore and fall in love. Both are talented and ambitious, and both share the dream of becoming singers for the legendary orchestras of the time: Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman. They’re soon married, and it isn’t long before Chiara and Tony find that their careers are on the way up as they navigate the glamorous worlds of night clubs, radio, and television. All goes well until it becomes clear that they must make a choice: Which of them will put their ambitions aside to raise a family and which will pursue a career? And how will they cope with the impact that decision has on their lives and their marriage?
From the Jersey shore to Las Vegas to Hollywood, and all the dance halls in between, this multi-layered story is vivid with historical color and steeped in the popular music that serves as its score. Tony’s Wife is a magnificent epic of life in a traditional Italian family undergoing seismic change in a fast paced, modern world. Filled with vivid, funny, and unforgettable characters, this richly human story showcases Adriana Trigiani’s gifts as a storyteller and her deep understanding of family, love, and the pursuit of the American dream.
If you are interested in purchasing this for yourself or a loved one for Christmas you can get it from HarperCollins!
Have you read any of Adriana Trigiani's books? Which are your favorite? Who is your favorite singer? What is a book you've read with strong female characters?
I received this book for review but all thoughts and opinions are my own!