Understanding The Children’s Train by Viola Ardone

Based on a true events, with more than 5,922 ratings on Goodreads, when I saw The Children’s Train, by Viola Ardone, Translated by Clarissa Botsford, eBook on sale I couldn’t let it pass me by.

Lately, it’s been laborious to read, to concentrate. I’ve read that it’s “pandemic brain,” but it could easily be attributed to my autoimmune disorder, stress, or just being a parent to a young child. Regardless, I managed to read and finish this book.

With little knowledge of my paternal Italian heritage, lately, I’ve become utterly obsessed with all things southern Italian. The history, the culture, the traditions and influences that have shaped this region and perhaps, the small ancient village that my grandmother was from: Sannicandro di Bari, Bari, Puglia, Italy.

This is a story about the devastation of poverty. “La Miseria” it’s called. It’s a story of the heart-wrenching love of a single mother with little to offer her child, and so she grudgingly agrees to send him away. The book is described as a coming of age story but I found it rather odd, as it jumps from a seven-year-old protagonist, Amerigo Speranza, to his return home as a man, with a plot hole in between. I would have enjoyed to have more details filled in about what his life was like and why he made the choices that he made.

I was also left wondering about the identity of his mother’s lover as Amerigo notices his real name of his mailbox, he comes to a realization but it wasn’t clear to me, what exactly that realization signified.

This is a book about Italy, about love, loss and ambition. As a mother to a young son and as a child of a single parent, raised in poverty, now motherless, I won’t lie. This book made me cry.

If you enjoy moving historical fiction or are an italophile like me, I definitely recommend it.

View my entire list of Italian Heritage book recommendations on Bookshop.org


Spread the love

More Articles for You

Portuguese Ethnicity in Puerto Rico

According to a chronology, made available by the Library of Congress, in 1593, “Portuguese soldiers, sent from Lisbon by order …

Spread the love

The Italian at a Glance

Becoming Italian Back in December 2020, I started a new research project on Instagram, @ItalianAtAGlance to curate and share some …

Spread the love

Dale! The Diasporican Cookbook

Illyanna Maisonet is an amazing writer. I’ve followed her online and read her deeply personal newsletter for years. As a …

Spread the love

Searching the 1950 Census: Things I didn’t Know about East Harlem & Vito

I always thought 2nd Avenue was expansive. I have fond memories of playing in the open “pompa” – Spanglish for …

Spread the love

Frida on Chestfeeding: A Study in Empathy and Deep Customer Understanding

Really well done Frida Mom! This is how you resonate with your audience. Author Literanista Spread the love

Spread the love

La Brega: A Podcast About the Puerto Rican Experience

In the past several years, I’ve suffered a lot of loss, besides the turmoil of the pandemic, my mother, my …

Spread the love