"I will honor and protect your precious gift for the rest of my life."
Jun 8, 2010
Until I Smile At You by Roseann Lombardi is, above all, a story of remembrance. A true story, Lombardi is telling the tale of the great love, and even greater tragedy, that enveloped her parents when she was a child. She is also paying tribute to the mother that she was never really able to get to know and who disappeared from her life far too early.
The story begins when Anna and Tony, Roseann's parents, are on a trip to find out the cause of the health problems she has been having. It then backtracks and describes their meeting, courting and the beginning years of their marriage before getting back into the trip, the diagnosis and its aftermath. Lombardi describes how small decisions can have huge consequences for everyone - and how an incredible lady can be left forgotten until it's too late.
The story ran a little long, though I can understand Lombardi's desire to do justice to the members of her family - several of whom could be main characters in their own right. The dialogue feels a bit stiff, and there were times that I wondered how much of the characters' actions were history and how much were as the author *wanted* to remember. It is incredibly difficult to be objective about your own family in the best of circumstances, but when you throw in the pain and regret that enveloped just about every member of these two families, it can be almost impossible.
Having said that, the story itself is worth reading. This book celebrates what family can be and lays open the tragic truth of what family sometimes really is. Almost every element of a Shakespearean tragedy is present - great love, huge sacrifice, terrible betrayal. Pain that no living, breathing creature should have to bear. Even more - a daughter who has made it her task to ensure that her mother's love, compassion and strength of spirit will always live on.
With a title taken from Frank Sinatra's song, "Until I Smile at You," the daughter of Anna Lauro and Tony Lombardi, Roseann Lombardi, has written the story of her parents, set in Long Island, New York, in the 1940s. It unfolds as the young couple, Anna and Tony, are on their way to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to gain answers to Anna's ever-increasing health problems. Anna and Tony meet just prior to World War II. Both are Italian-Americans, although Anna's family is presented … more
Until I Smile At You, by Roseann Lombardi is not the sort of book I usually read. It is a tragedy, and it is also a true story. I generally read escapist fiction. And I avoid sad or suspenseful or horror or human misery tales whenever I can. So, I am not what you might call a typical fan of the genre, or a reader who would be approaching this story with a mindset willing to overlook the genre staples or common themes that run in these types of stories, if they are cliche or cringe worthy. So, … more
This book is both charming and heartbreaking, and it constitutes the loving and lovely tribute of a daughter to her mother. The memoir reads like a novel, so if you enjoy reading long sections of narrative, this probably won't be your favorite type of memoir. However, if stories of real life (and believe me, this is real life at its most brutal and most poignant) inspire you--however messy they may be--this one's for you. An enjoyable read. Keep the tissue handy!
Lombardi, Roseann, "Until I Smile At You". Two Harbors, 2010. Love, Tragedy and Human Forbearance Amos Lassen I love a good love story and a family love story is a big plus. Here is a tale of perfect love and a family and the book contains themes of compassion, betrayal and struggle as well as strength. It is the story of how the human spirit can overcome odds. The story is tender and the real hero is a woman, Anna, who loved everything … more
Until I Smile at Youis a family love story. Roseann Lombardi provides a poignant tale of heartache and hope in the coming together of two fiercely proud Italian-American families on Long Island, New York, in the 1940s. The author's true account is enhanced by her dreams, reflections, and recollections from her childhood in the 1950s. Lombardi's tender narrative not only exposes human frailty and the lifelong consequences of decisions, but also deftly lays bare the disparate features of loyalty, forgiveness, and redemption.