Life of Peter

Man of vigor, a common farmer, the father of eleven, grandfather of seventy-four

Non-Fiction - Biography
321 Pages
Reviewed on 06/20/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Life of Peter is a work of non-fiction in the biography, historical, and slice-of-life subgenres. The work is best suited to the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Michael Pedretti. Self-described as the tale of a “man of vigor, a common farmer, the father of eleven, grandfather of seventy-four”, this sweeping tale takes us into the world and work of Peter Pedretti in the eighth volume of the author’s family saga. Describing the history and personality of Genoa, Wisconsin, from the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century, we follow Peter through emotional trials, loss, success, struggle, love, and the belief in hope as he builds a stronger, better life for himself.

Author Michael Pedretti always keeps one hand on his heart when writing these beautiful accounts of his family history, and this emotive and powerful work is no exception. I love the styling of the story, as it is so smoothly narrated that it feels like reading a novel and living through every gripping high and low with our central character Peter. To think that this was a real life and a fantastic legacy only adds even more charm and resonance to the tale. I also really appreciated the vivid, atmospheric detail work put into bringing the town of Genoa to life, with its bubbling hub of immigrants and the sheer grit that people had there to succeed against all odds. Overall, Life of Peter is a deeply compelling book that will please readers seeking heartfelt historical biographies and amazing tales of ordinary people doing the best they can to achieve their dreams.

Rabia Tanveer

Life of Peter: Man of Vigor, A Common Farmer, The Father of Eleven, Grandfather of Seventy-Four by Michael Pedretti is the biography of Peter Pedretti and is the 8th novel in The Story of Our Stories series. Michael Pedretti tells the life story of his grandfather Peter Pedretti, who was a master planter at his farm. Son of the original Italian immigrants who came to America for a better life, Peter always worked hard and chased his dream of owning a farm. To achieve that, he worked on repairing rail tracks and saved enough money until he enough to marry the girl of his dreams and make a down payment for his first farm. However, it wasn’t long before Maggie and Peter settled in Genoa, where Peter worked hard to become the most successful person in his community and gave his children what he had worked all those years for: a chance at a better life!

I love biographies like Life of Peter. There is inspiration, hard work, determination, and real men and women who worked their butts off for the future they wanted. Life was simpler back then, but that somehow made things more challenging and not easier. With fewer resources and opportunities, men like Peter had to create their own opportunities. It takes a special kind of courage to fight for your dreams, and Peter had that in abundance. While the narrative was powerful and made me feel like part of the story, the pictures sealed the deal for me and completed that experience. I cannot imagine the hard work it took for Michael Pedretti to gather all of the source material (information and pictures) and then cohesively compile them all. I felt an emotional attachment to Peter and his story. Michael did a fantastic job of creating something homey with this book. I felt his adoration for his grandfather and felt like I had known Peter all my life. I wish I could give it more than five stars!

Asher Syed

Life of Peter by Michael Pedretti is a comprehensive biography of Peter Pedretti and a historical account of Genoa, Wisconsin. Peter is the author's grandfather and the book explores Peter's upbringing, his parent's decision to immigrate to America, his farming endeavors, his impact on his family, and the author's personal connection to Peter. Pedretti includes thoughtful anecdotes alongside historical facts, including entries such as lists of Peter's most common phrases (“The early bird gets the worm”), notes from his grandchildren with stories and memories, a history of his surname, photographs, profiles of each of his eleven children, including sixteen-year-old Joseph who drowned, and the homes he'd owned, among many others. Finally, Genoa itself is given a spotlight with the inclusion of historical documents and letters.

Works like Life of Peter by Michael Pedretti have deep importance to the families of those written about as they are an eternal testament to their shared heritage. They preserve the stories that belong to an entire family, creating a collective narrative of their lived experiences. What makes Life of Peter different and will perhaps give it a wider readership beyond the family, making it of value to the public, is its unveiling of the history of Italian immigrants in Genoa, Wisconsin during a transformative period in American history. It sheds light on the challenges, triumphs, and contributions of these immigrants and provides historical context, enriching our understanding of their resilience and cultural legacy. Through Peter's wisdom and storytelling, readers are drawn into his world and invited to join him in his past, making this account both deeply personal and universally relatable.