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After a week where many of us were glued to television sets or constantly refreshing our browsers or glancing back at our portable devices to get the latest updates on the presidential race, it might finally be nice to have something soothing to remind us that the world around us still rotates around the sun and life goes on regardless of the great political divide in this country and that life can be simplified and made better if we all just acted a little more…Italian.
That’s right, that’s the premise of a new book by writer Dawn Mattera, originally of Providence, called, The Italian Art of Living: Your Passport to Hope, Happiness and Your Personal Renaissance. In it, she explains that if we all just acted a little more Italian; or maybe the better terminology is that if we all could learn to become a little more Italian, this world would be a better place.
Drawing on her experiences growing up in a large, extended Italo-American family in Providence, the author gives many deeply personal examples stretching from her childhood throughout her recent past. Using anecdotes from her early life, readers get the picture of how someone is raised in a traditional Italian home; from how family is the most important thing in life and respect is taught early on, food plays a role in just about every aspect of Italian life, religion weaves the families even closer together along with special feast days and name days, and that leads to more food. She even makes use of the Leo Buscaglia quote, “All of my youth, growing up in my Italian family, was focused around the table. That’s where I learned about love.” This after relating a charming story of her grandmother guilting them all into eating more.
While freely admitting she’s not a therapist of any kind, Ms. Mattera is a talented storyteller and motivational speaker. The way she weaves tales from her childhood, quotes from famous Italians, academic studies to support her positions, and tips about how the average person could adapt their lives to be more, “Italian,” makes this book the perfect antidote to everything going on in the world right now. She even assigns homework at the end of the chapters for her readers, so they can practice.
She states, “Happiness is a trait that you can learn.” As long as you’re not a, “Grumpy Guido.” More than anything, I think her advice, “Do What You Love,” is probably the most important tip for anyone at any time; and as a personal observation, I’ve pretty much come to realize that in my almost 60 years on the planet that the people who are happiest are the ones doing what they love. And as a native of Providence with many Italian friends, I can state that a great many of them are the happiest people I know – although some of them could work on the grudges – and the author even mentions that briefly in the book.
The Virtual book launch is Nov. 11 at 7 pm, the details, along with a full bio of Ms. Mattera can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/Dawn-Mattera-Author-Speaker-103576438098884 while a paperback copy of the book will be available in print in December. Hopefully, you can all be as joyfully distracted by reading this as I was for a few hours.