The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani
Published by Harper Paperbacks ISBN 9780062136596
Trade paperback, $15.99, 352 pages
Although you may not know it from the title, The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani is the third book in the saga of Valentine Roncalli, following Brava, Valentine and Very Valentine. We pick up our story on Christmas Eve as Valentine and her fiance Gianluca are headed to Christmas Eve with the raucous Roncalli family.
My favorite scene in all three books has been the family holiday dinner scene; it doesn't matter if it is Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, these scenes are pure joy. Trigiani makes the reader feel like she is a guest, and you'll want to pull up a chair for this party.
There is Aunt Feen, who says everything that is on her mind, and that is not a good thing. When Valentine's father Dutch gets nervous, he confuses words to everyone's embarrassment. Her brother Charlie just lost his job and is getting roaring drunk. And just as Valentine has second thoughts about subjecting Gianluca to this,
"On cue, as dramatized in the biblical epics, the Israelites came pouring from out of the living room as they did during the parting of the Red Sea. In this sweet, small house, they appeared like a cast of thousands, except that unlike the people of peace, my family was arguing. They shouted. They shoved. They threw their hands in the air. "
Valentine is trying to have it all, but as most of us know, that is impossible to do all at the same time. Angelini Shoe Company, her shoe design and manufacturing business, is going great guns, until her cousin who owns the manufacturing plant in Argentina that makes her shoes decides to close her plant.
And so Valentine has to find another manufacturer, not an easy task for her labor intensive shoe creations. Thus the title of the book comes into play. The Supreme Macaroni Company is an old closed plant in the midwest that could possibly be the answer for Angelini Shoes, and I particularly enjoyed this part of the novel.
Trigiani gives the reader a look at the challenges facing small business owners, the backbone of our American economy, and I liked that her family is so involved in saving the business begun by her grandfather.
And Valentine has to balance work with family life. Gianluca left his family back in Italy to move to New York with his fiancee. He sacrificed much to make his wife happy, and is seems as if Valentine is not appreciative of this.
The author laces this novel with her trademark humor, though the reader senses something tragic lay ahead. Soon Valentine has to dig deep within herself, and allow herself to rely on those surrounding her, to make it through.
Reading Trigiani's novels is like catching up with a good friend, and I always look forward to a new novel from her. Her characters are interesting and have a sense of reality about them; they could be your friends or family. (Who wouldn't want a best friend like Gabriel?)
These novels are a treat for all of your senses. You can see the beautiful shoes she designs in your mind's eye, and smell the delicious food being prepared for Christmas Eve. They are screaming out to be put up on the big (or little) screen.
I also must mention the cover of this book. Trigiani's last novel, The Shoemaker's Wife, featured a gorgeous book cover and The Supreme Macaroni Company follows in that vein with a beautifully rich cover. What is on the outside more than matches the inside of this lovely novel that will touch your heart. This is a book to give your sister, sister-in-law or girlfriend.
rating 5 of 5