Reviewed by Michael McManus for Readers' Favorite
“Half Italian (and then some)” is a tribute to the author’s immigrant grandparents and his “first-generation” mother. In a series of memories he tells about his maternal grandmother who sailed from Italy in the early part of last century and crossed our continent, not knowing the language or the customs, to find her new home in rural California. The community she entered was a haven of familiarity, where she learned to speak and live as an American, while preserving the healthy, respectful life that she knew in her native land. This tale, while fictitious in terms of the actual names of places and people, is true to the experiences his grandparents and their descendants encountered in this new land. The stories told, that span nearly seventy years, will draw you in and introduce you to a culture that cherished respect and nurtured the idea of family. His memories of those in his family, including himself, about returning to Northern Italy for visits will make you want to journey there yourself. As an added feature, the author punctuates the chapters with recipes that sound utterly delicious.
Joe Pfeiler’s ability to relate the experiences of grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins makes you feel as though you have known these people. His anecdotes about life and lessons learned as the offspring of immigrants are both heartwarming and humorous. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to look back at how lucky America has been to welcome people like the ones that Joe describes. Thank you, Joe, for a great read.