Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: Very Valentine

Lo and behold, we’re actually ready for the final discussion and wrap-up of book #32, Very Valentine. Here are a few more questions from Trigiani’s reader guide to help us along:

  • Tradition is another theme of Very Valentine. Her sister Tess calls Valentine traditional, yet Valentine disagrees. “I guess I appear to be one of my tribe, but the truth is, whenever I have the opportunity to walk the hard line of tradition, I balk.” Is Tess right, does Valentine represent tradition? How does she balk at it, as she claims? Which sister has the more realistic view?
  • Valentine ponders the question: “How do we survive in a contemporary world without losing everything my great-grandfather built?” Is there a role for tradition and traditional craftsmen and artisans in our technologically dependent modern world?
  • Describe Valentine’s love interests, Roman and Gianluca. What does each man provide that the other doesn’t? Did you prefer one to the other? Do you think she could be happy with either of them—or someone like either of them?
  • When Roman tells her that he will be few days late meeting her in Capri, what do you think about her reaction to his news? What about when he cancels on her?
  • What role did the trip to Capri play in Valentine and Roman’s relationship?
  • The Roncalli family offers numerous insights, both profound and humorous for Valentine. Her mother tells, “You see, that’s when you know for sure somebody loves you. They figure out what you need and they give it to you—without you asking.” What do you think of this view of love?
  • What do you think of Teodora’s news? Why do you think she kept her relationship a secret all those years?
  • At the end of the novel, Valentine turns away from both Roman and Gianluca. “In this moment, I choose art.” Is this the right choice for her? What might it mean for her and for the Angelini Shoe Company? Does she have to choose love and career?
  • Finally, now is your chance to rate Very Valentine on a scale from 1-10 (1=horrible, 10=superb). What do you give this novel?

Post your thoughts! And don’t forget to pick up our next bookclub selection, This Charming Man by Marian Keyes. (Formal announcement and timeline coming soon.)

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6 Responses to Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: Very Valentine

  1. * Tradition is another theme of Very Valentine. Her sister Tess calls Valentine traditional, yet Valentine disagrees. “I guess I appear to be one of my tribe, but the truth is, whenever I have the opportunity to walk the hard line of tradition, I balk.” Is Tess right, does Valentine represent tradition? How does she balk at it, as she claims? Which sister has the more realistic view?
    No, Tess is not right. If Valentine represented tradition, she would’ve settled into a lifestyle typical of other women in her family. Rather than staying in her original career choice then marrying and starting a family, Valentine went after a new career field as a cobbler working & living with Gram. She ‘balks’ whenever confronted with the thought of living like other women her age; and while she loves the men in her life, she keeps them at arms distance. Neither sister is right/wrong – each viewpoint should be valued and respected.

    * Valentine ponders the question: “How do we survive in a contemporary world without losing everything my great-grandfather built?” Is there a role for tradition and traditional craftsmen and artisans in our technologically dependent modern world?
    The role for craftsmen & artisans is to keep handcrafted-ness alive, despite technology’s ability to mass produce. The personal touch of having something custom-made will never go out of style, and it is the responsibility of artisans not to let technology drive them out of business permanently. Passing skills on to the next generation by documenting and teaching is a must in order for this to happen.

    * Describe Valentine’s love interests, Roman and Gianluca. What does each man provide that the other doesn’t? Did you prefer one to the other? Do you think she could be happy with either of them—or someone like either of them?
    Roman broke free from his family to start his own business, demonstrating his vision for the future and follow-through in pursuing his dreams. Gianluca seems more satisfied in maintaining what has already been established by his family over the years. Gianluca offers balance and knows how/when to relax, whereas Roman is overworked and less reliable. I can’t say that I have a preference for either man for Valentine, at least not at this point in her life.

    * When Roman tells her that he will be few days late meeting her in Capri, what do you think about her reaction to his news? What about when he cancels on her?
    Valentine’s reaction was typical for someone with high expectations in finally having a romantic getaway, but she should’ve seen trouble coming. Roman’s priorities had always been with his restaurant first, thus ending his marriage. Although later Valentine defends Roman when Gianluca criticizes him, almost as if she expected him to cancel anyway. It’s almost as if she justifies his unreliable behavior, but always had a glimmer of hope that he might put her first for once.

    * What role did the trip to Capri play in Valentine and Roman’s relationship?
    Capri turned out to be the true test of Valentine and Roman’s love for one another. Also, when Roman became a ‘no show’, Valentine’s experience with the cobbler took precedence, allowing her to realize the passion that she had for her line of work.

    * The Roncalli family offers numerous insights, both profound and humorous for Valentine. Her mother tells, “You see, that’s when you know for sure somebody loves you. They figure out what you need and they give it to you—without you asking.” What do you think of this view of love?
    Mike’s view of love is simplistic, but somewhat true. When someone cares enough about you to know your needs and how they can provide for you without being asked, something strong is going on there. I do think this is only a small part of love’s meaning, but it’s clear that she finds it important in relationships.

    * What do you think of Teodora’s news? Why do you think she kept her relationship a secret all those years?
    Teodora’s news was a sweet twist, opening the family up to new relationships and experiences. She probably felt that acknowledging the relationship would be similar to cheating on her belated husband, thus keeping it a secret for so many years.

    * At the end of the novel, Valentine turns away from both Roman and Gianluca. “In this moment, I choose art.” Is this the right choice for her? What might it mean for her and for the Angelini Shoe Company? Does she have to choose love and career?
    Choosing ‘art’ is the right choice at that moment, considering the circumstances. The Angelini Shoe Company is in the throes of crashing down; and Valentine’s energy, creativity and desire to keep the company running is crucial at this point. She literally has potential for greatness career-wise, especially after winning the Bergdorf windows.

    * Finally, now is your chance to rate Very Valentine on a scale from 1-10 (1=horrible, 10=superb). What do you give this novel?
    The rating I give Very Valentine is 8. While I enjoyed the characters and storyline, I prefer more action over lengthy prose-like descriptions. Trigiani is, by far, a highly skilled, talented author with a style all her own!

  2. maksbestfriend says:

    • Tradition is another theme of Very Valentine. Her sister Tess calls Valentine traditional, yet Valentine disagrees. “I guess I appear to be one of my tribe, but the truth is, whenever I have the opportunity to walk the hard line of tradition, I balk.” Is Tess right, does Valentine represent tradition? How does she balk at it, as she claims? Which sister has the more realistic view?

    I think that Tess is wrong. I think that Valentine had to find the path that fit her. I think that Valentine has the more realistic view of life.

    • Valentine ponders the question: “How do we survive in a contemporary world without losing everything my great-grandfather built?” Is there a role for tradition and traditional craftsmen and artisans in our technologically dependent modern world?

    I think that there is. I think that you can pass the traditions forward and put a modern, today, twist on them. Times change, styles, change. Classic design and well constructed things never go out of style.

    • Describe Valentine’s love interests, Roman and Gianluca. What does each man provide that the other doesn’t? Did you prefer one to the other? Do you think she could be happy with either of them—or someone like either of them?

    I think that Roman gave her spontaneous moments, but never a solid relationship. Guinaluca showed her how a calm life could be. I think that R is/was exciting in his own way, but not reliable. I think that G, while nice, and settled into his life as an artist, is too old for her. I think that she has to find that place for the person that she just can’t live without.

    • When Roman tells her that he will be few days late meeting her in Capri, what do you think about her reaction to his news? What about when he cancels on her?

    I think at first her reaction was spot on. I think I would have been that disappointed if that trip was built up to be “their moment”. And when he completely cancelled on her, I think that she should have seen that there would always be something that would keep him from being committed.

    • What role did the trip to Capri play in Valentine and Roman’s relationship?

    I think that it showed V that she was more than just person that helped in her grandmother’s shop. She is an artist in her own right. She did not need a man to make her life whole. She could stand on her own.

    • The Roncalli family offers numerous insights, both profound and humorous for Valentine. Her mother tells, “You see, that’s when you know for sure somebody loves you. They figure out what you need and they give it to you—without you asking.” What do you think of this view of love?

    I think that is true. When someone knows you, really knows you, they can read you like a book. It isn’t everything in a relationship, but if someone can read you, they have a strong insight into who you are as a person. That kind of connection should not be ignored.

    • What do you think of Teodora’s news? Why do you think she kept her relationship a secret all those years?

    I think that she was at a stage in her life where she was not sure how her family might react to her having a second romance. After all her husband was the love of her life. But when she met this man, she found something that had been lacking in her life. And I am so glad to see this romantic twist.

    • At the end of the novel, Valentine turns away from both Roman and Gianluca. “In this moment, I choose art.” Is this the right choice for her? What might it mean for her and for the Angelini Shoe Company? Does she have to choose love and career?

    I think so. Roman isn’t at a point in his life where he is willing or able to be committed only to her and she needs to find out who she is at an artist and now that she has the Bergdorf’s window she can do that.

    • Finally, now is your chance to rate Very Valentine on a scale from 1-10 (1=horrible, 10=superb). What do you give this novel?
    Only a 7. It was much too wordy and the chapters just seemed to go on forever. I think if it were more concise and to the point, I might rate it higher.

  3. A fellow Chicken Lit’er had a recent loss in the family, and she was planning to join us with ‘This Charming Man’. I vote that we hold off and read the Picoult novel instead.

    Thoughts, readers?

  4. maksbestfriend says:

    I second that vote. Please pass along my condolences. I will pick up this book again when you are ready.

    Hugs,
    b

  5. Will do. Thanks for being flexible @maksbestfriend.

  6. maksbestfriend says:

    Awww you know me, I am always flexible! 🙂

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