Yes it’s that time, Chicken Lit’ers – time for our first discussion of book #32, Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. As before, stop right here if you haven’t reached the end of chapter 7. (Spoiler alert!) Otherwise, read on and take a gander at these questions:
- Valentine Roncalli begins her tale with the words, “I am not the pretty sister. I’m not the smart sister either. I am the funny one.” How does her outlook color her actions? What do you think of Valentine? Do you agree with her assessment or do you think she might be selling herself short?
- One of the major themes of Very Valentine is family. Describe the Roncalli family. How does their bond enrich Valentine’s life? How might it affect her adversely, both in her romantic and professional endeavors? Offer some examples from the novel.
- What defines family for the Roncallis? How would you fit into Valentine’s family? What defines family for you? What is your family life like now and what were your experiences growing up?
- Compare Valentine with her mother, Michelina (“Mike”), and her grandmother, Teodora. What elements of her personality does Valentine get from both women? Does she take after one more than the other?
- Valentine’s sister-in-law, Pam, has a difficult time fitting into the Roncalli family. How much of this is the result of her own actions? Are the Roncalli sisters responsible as well?
- What does tradition mean for your life? Are there any you particularly cherish that have been handed down through past generations? How do you keep traditions alive? How can you start new ones?
- Romantic love and the yearning for it infuse the novel. Valentine is a single woman in a world seemingly defined by marriage. Can a woman be fulfilled and yet remain single? Can she be happy without a man?
- Mike also advises her daughter, “I believe in setting goals that one can achieve. Low expectations make for a happy life.” Can not expecting much make you happy? How? What would happen to Valentine if she followed this advice?
- Throughout the novel, Valentine works hard to save the Angelini Shoe Company. If she is successful, she gains stability. What do you think will happen if she fails?
- Valentine describes the art of making shoes: “My grandmother has taught me that the palette for leather and suede is limitless, like musical notes.” What do our shoes say about ourselves? How is Valentine’s passion, making shoes, a metaphor for her life?
- And finally, how do you feel about Adriana Trigiani’s writing style? Read any of Trigiani’s books before this one? Willing to read more of her novels in the future?
Feel free to answer all, some, or none of the above – we just want to know your thoughts. Not meant to be homework-like, Chicken Lit’ers.