Daily Archives: October 21, 2008

The Islands of Divine Music – Review

Publication Date: October 28th, 2008

John Addiego writes a very romanticed account of five generations of one Southern Italian family’s history in The Islands of Divine Music. The story begins with young and intelligent Rosari living with her perpetually teary eyed father and sweet older sister, searching for their runaway mother. Rosari gets herself in trouble by naively helping out a pair of criminals in the street, thus forcing her family to make a quick departure to America. On the way there, Rosari’s mother shows up on their front door, and joins them to America, more specifically to San Francisco, CA.

The Islands of Divine Music by

Once in America, Addiego swiftly goes through the lives of Rosari, her engagement to Giuseppe, and their seven children. The following chapters are told from the prespectives of each child, or grandchild of Rosari. Each chapter follows through a different, yet historically significant part of American history, from important baseball games and players, to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. What is unique about this book, is that is more like a collection of vingettes of one family over the course of 80 + years rather than a story that follows the basic “beginning-conflict-climax-conclusion” formula. It is more enjoyable if you pick this book up thinking vingnettes instead of thinking typical novel. Each chapter is its own story, and each chapter has its own focus based on the chosen character’s perspective, although the chapters do overlap with stories and themes of family and loyalty. I really enjoyed the references to San Francisco and the Bay Area, but only because I’m a local. =)

There is little to no dialoge in the book, so at times it did get a bit boring. I like action more than description, but that is my own preference. The first chapter was difficult to get through because it felt a little bit scattered and repetitive. The following chapters really picked up the pace and were enjoyable to read, particularly the scene re-enacting the Dodgers v Giants playoff games and the chapters with Narciso, the dim-witted brother full of good luck, and the chapter in which Santa Claus comes to visit Mickey.  The Verbicaro family is five generations of stubborness, shrewd intelligence and sarcasm. The characters are easily relatable and the situations they find themselves in are not out of the ordinary. Despite the slow start, and the occasional lapse of action scenes, this book is a great read.


The Island of Divine Music
by John Addiego
Unbridled Books, 2008
ISBN 1932961546
241 pages

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