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, I gave the story a try. It took me a while to get through it, because I could only read it in small doses, because it is sad -- and because true-life tragedy tales aren't exactly a page turner with me. The story rings true, heartfelt and feels like it is full of life ... and death. My favorite "character" (not really a character, since she is based on a real person) is Connie. Her struggle and ultimate decision caught and kept my interest in the story of Roseann's parents, her mother's illness and her father's handling of the whole thing.
Reading the scene where Anna had to lie on the table and curl up in the fetal position as she received her first treatment to her back was such a true-to-life moment that it made me want to cry and also salute her at the same time.
The story of Tony and Anna is a sad one, and it contains a double dose of tragedy. It has a sort of bittersweet ending, and the tale is hard to get through if you are like me, and reading these kinds of things is hard for you. Over all, the story is excellent. It suffers a little from slightly unpolished writing, but I doubt I could better.
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
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 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 … 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.