Saturday, August 25, 2012

Nino, by Valenti Angelo

Nino is the name of our book's protagonist.  He lives in a small village in Italy in the early 1900's with his mother and grandmother, his father having gone to America to make a home for them.  The book follows Nino through his childhood, marking festivals like Easter and Christmas, local fairs and church events, and everyday life.  We also get to know his friends and neighbors, and those who live in the village, such as the priest and the woodcarver.

Nino's home is supported through farming- his grandfather produces olives for oil, as well as corn.  Their closest friends and neighbors grow grapes and make their own wine.  Nino's childhood is a rich and happy one, full of simple pleasures and discoveries.  He slowly uncovers his own talents in the arts.  At the end of the book, the family finally receives a letter from his father, with money to buy their passage to California to join him.  Grandfather decides to go as well; he doesn't want to be left behind to live alone, missing his family!

The story was simple and charming, but I thought the element of the father in America was somewhat unnecessary, since it's brought up at the beginning of the book and then more or less forgotten until the end.  Since it was introduced, I was curious about why he chose to leave, and what his experiences were like, travelling to and learning to live in a new country.  That's a sequel I'd like to read!

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