Synopses & Reviews
Angel Lupo grew up in a traditional Italian home — an exclusive club where Mamas word was everything ... and where nice girls saved themselves for marriage. All Angel wanted was to be movie-star blond, change her name, and get as much attention as her prettier older sister Lina.
Now Angel is nearing thirty, penning Catholic greeting cards for a living, and still jealous of her sister, who has a house in the suburbs, two kids, and a husband who loves her. So Angel does the next best thing: She answers a personal ad.
Dirk Diederhoff is blond, teaches at Vassar, and is definitely not Italian. Nor is he the thrill-a-minute lover and soul mate Angel prays for. But as Lina, recklessly embarked on an affair of her own, would tell her: There are no perfect tens out there — only men who want you to talk to them in Italian during sex.
The award-winning author of Pink Slip gets the rituals and rhythms of domestic life just right in Sometimes I Dream in Italian, a bittersweet comedy about sisters, lovers, and a family that doesnt quite translate.
About the Author
Rita Ciresi is the author of Mother Rocket, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novels Pink Slip and Blue Italian. She lives with her husband and daughter in Florida.
Reading Group Guide
The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your reading of Rita Ciresis SOMETIMES I DREAM IN ITALIAN. We hope they will enrich your experience of this compelling, funny novel-in-stories that is an exploration of childhood, family, and the immigrant experience.
1. Why is Mama so money-conscious? How does this fear of extravagance shape her daughters personalities and expectations for the future?
2.Mama and Babbo are distrustful of anything that is too different from their everyday experience, and seem fearful of taking risks. Why is this? What could they have done to make their lives richer?
3.Catholicism has a strong influence on the family as a whole. How does it influence Lina and Angel as adults? How does it affect the choices they make and the lives they now lead?
4.Why does Babbo seem mysterious and remote to Angel and Lina when they are children? What changes that?
5.What was the turning point in Linas life? Why is she so unhappy today? What could she do to change that?
6.What is Angel seeking out of life that she doesnt have? What could she do to change things? Why do you think she stays at a job she doesnt like?
7.Do you think Mama and Babbo had a happy marriage? Overall, were they happy or unhappy with their life?
8.What kind of lives did they envision for their daughters?
9.Why does Mama remember her trip through Ellis Island differently every time she tells it? What does that say of her feelings about these memories?
10.When Lina realizes that the picture of the young woman in Babbos things is their mother, she becomes unhappy. Why? What does the transformation of this young woman into Mama mean to Linas vision of her adulthood?
11.Why do Lina and Angel have fantasies of being blond and pale-skinned?
12.What kinds of things could have happened to make Uncle Gigi and Aunt Pat different-and less traditional-than Mama and Babbo?
13.As adults, why do Lina and Angel imitate their parents dialogue? Is it only to make fun of them-or does it fill another role?
14.What keeps Dirk and Angel together? What do you think finally prods Angel to break up with him?
15.Why is Dirk so scared by the idea that family affects the way you behave in a relationship? What does this say about his feelings toward Angels family?
16.How does the story end? Is it on a hopeful note? Do you think Angel and Lina will be able to find the happiness they are searching for?
Dont miss the previous two hilarious-and poignant-novels from Rita Ciresi:
Rosa comes from a working-class Italian family. Gary grew up with swimming pools and overdone bar mitzvahs. So begins the funny, heartrending romance between two people who dont quite add up to the ideal couple.
What makes Gary want to believe in God-even though its hard for him? Why does Rosa believe in God without really trying?
Although Rosa and Gary are rarely romantic in the traditional sense, theres a lot of love in their relationship. Why is humor their main form of communication?
Why do you think Gary decided to die in the hospital instead of at home?
Lisa Diodettos mother wants her to get married so badly that anything in pants will do. But when she falls for her boss, the ensuing affair makes Lisa wonder if this crazy, confusing thing called love is really worth it.
Why does Strauss retreat into boardroom speech when talking to Lisa about their relationship?
Lisa is usually a very direct person. Why isnt she able to tell Strauss that she stumbled upon his piece about his father in the story collection she picked up?
What was the main reason for the disintegration of Lisa and Strausss relationship?