Beth's Book Review

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

143adc242a4cee90f249_Queen_of_the_Big_Time.jpg
143adc242a4cee90f249_Queen_of_the_Big_Time.jpg

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady. “I am not a great reader, but I loved this book.”

            Intrigued, I bought a copy of The Queen of the Big Time and was surprised to learn that Trigiani has written a number of novels about life in small town America. She is best known around the globe for a series that she has penned called “The Big Stone Gap” trilogy.

            The Queen of the Big Time proved to be an easy, fluid read, with a charming story of several Italian families who had emigrated to America in the late 1800s and landed in the small town of Roseto, Pennsylvania. The protagonist of the story, Nella Castelluca is a girl who dreams of going to high school, college, and ultimately becoming a school teacher. She lives on a farm with her industrious parents and four sisters, and has mastered the meaning of hard work and responsibility to the family. When her father shatters his leg in an accident in the local quarry where he works part time to make ends meet, Nella is forced to forego her hopes of going to school in order to keep the farm afloat while her father convalesces. Like her sister, Nella takes a menial job in the local shirt manufacturing company at the age of 15. Despite the fact that her dreams have crumbled, Nella quickly uses her skills and wits to be noticed by the factory's owner, who makes her a foreman at the age of 16.

Sign Up for E-News

            Aside from joining the labor force, Nella becomes enamored of the handsome Renato Lanzara, the son of a well-to-do family in the town. Although Renato seems quite taken with Nella, who is seven years his junior, she knows that he sees a lot of girls, and has a reputation for being quite a lady's man. When the couple becomes entangled for a short time, Nella is shattered when Renato disappears, leaving her only an empty letter of apology.

            While her sisters marry, move into town, and begin to have families of their own, Nella loses herself in work and shuts off her emotions until she is the subject of the attentions of the tall and good- looking Franco Zollerano. Nella looks down at Franco as an uneducated menial worker; his specialty is fixing machines. She longs for someone to tempt her poetric soul and intellectual side. Aside from not seeing Franco as her equal, Nella clings to the romantic ideal of Renato, making it impossible for her to give her heart to another.

            The charm of The Queen of the Big Time is in its description of the early 20th century, when people retained Old World beliefs and customs. For example, the novel's title comes from an annual competition between the young women of Roseto. Those girls wishing to compete must sell tickets to the annual church fair, and the one who sells the most is crowned as The Queen of the Big Time. She leads the parade of worshippers through the streets until they come upon the statue of the Virgin Mary, on whom the Queen places a golden crown.

            The only problem with the novel is in its pacing. The book opens and spends a good amount of time with Nella's youth and years as a laborer in the factory. Then the novel skips ahead through the next several decades, barely touching upon key events that happen to the Castelucca family. While Trigiani does a nice job of tying up the story's loose ends, the development of the latter part of the book seemed rushed and undeveloped. However, this was not enough of a detriment to keep me from ordering Trigiani's best seller, Lucia, Lucia on-line. The Queen of the Big Time falls into the category of light reading, but it's perfect for summer fare.

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Nutley

Teen-involved Crashes Kill 10 People a Day Between Now and Labor Day

June 19, 2018

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - More than 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver during the, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2016. AAA reports that the average of 10 people per day is a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year.

As school lets out for the summer, AAA stresses the importance of preparing and educating inexperienced teen drivers for ...

Anne Rotonda to receive Nutley Women's Advocacy Award at June 30 ceremony

NUTLEY, NJ - Special Young Adults Director Anne Rotonda will be awarded the 2017 Department of Public Affairs Women’s Advocacy Award for her work with SYA in a special ceremony on June 30. The award is given by Commissioner Steven Rogers and the Department of Public Affairs.

Rotonda was named the recipient of award in early 2017, but due to serious health ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_29a88bda21e633170018_nutley_educational_foundation

Thu, June 21, 6:30 PM

Nutley Historical Society Museum , Nutley

Nutley Educational Foundation NEF Sip, Savor, ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink Giving Back

Carousel_image_9f96b00f934f44e64d68_fridays-for-families-social-media-03

Fri, June 22, 3:00 PM

Outside of U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's office, Morristown

Fridays for Families: Vigil in Morristown calls ...

Government Health & Wellness Law & Justice

Carousel_image_b4f18dfd4f07fd561026_letslisten7-ellington-mplspecs-revised

Fri, June 22, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library Auditorium, Montclair

Let's Listen to Jazz

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_984ecc3b936a1ba5ae0c_kingsland_manor_nutley_nj

Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Kingsland Manor, Nutley

Floral Design Class at Kingsland Manor

Education Home & Garden

Carousel_image_cdd5a076d511b3ea3f40_nutley_farmers_market_avatar

Sun, June 24, 9:00 AM

the building formerly known as Ciccolini Brothers, Nutley

JerseyFresh Nutley Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_5e177eaae57739064cd4_397f63ad2fb50392a776_29178074_2107642336134787_2638697507160326144_n

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Totowa

MakerFest 2018

Education

Carousel_image_ce51c1baeec53a8dcdfb_st_huberts_logo

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Madison

Kids' Critter Camp

Education

Nutley Public Schools Safety and Security Meeting Postponed to June 19

June 12, 2018

Dear Nutley Parents, Staff and Community Members,

In light of the upcoming Spring Festival on Thursday, June 14th, the district has made the decision to reschedule the Safety and Security Focus Group originally planned for this night. We encourage all opportunities for families to spend time enjoying all the Nutley community has to offer.  The weather forecast looks excellent and I ...

Joseph Dwyer approved as Coordinator of Social Studies K-12 for Nutley Public Schools

NUTLEY, NJ - Mr. Joseph Dwyer was approved as the Coordinator of Social Studies, K-12, for the Nutley Public Schools at the Board of Education meeting on May 21, 2018. He will begin his role on July 1, 2018.

Mr. Dwyer fills this role upon the retirement of Mr. Robert O’Dell, who has been with the district for 37 years. His retirement is effective June 30, 2018.

In his new role, Mr.

On3

World Economic Forum Declares Nutley's Modern Meadow 'Technology Pioneer'

June 21, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The World Economic Forum announced Nutley based Modern Meadow as one of the world's 61 most promising Technology Pioneers for 2018. Hundreds of companies were considered before the final list of 61 was announced.  Modern Meadow is a biofabrication company using collagen to create bioleather materials.

The World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers ...

Commissioner Evans Sees Medical School as Positive Force in Nutley's Future

NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley Revenue and Finance  Commissioner Tom Evans sees the opening of the medical school on Prism's On3 campus as a positive force for the township.

Nutley took a significant financial hit earlier this decade when long-time corporate resident Roche Pharmaceuticals announced plans to close their North American headquarters in the Essex County township to ...

Former Maplewood School Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan dies

Kevin Ryan, a former Assemblyman from Nutley who served as an Essex County Undersheriff, has died.

Ryan, 49, served for nearly two decades in the Essex County Sheriff's Office, rising to the rank of undersheriff. He also served a year beginning in January 2011 as State Assemblyman before redistricting changes.  

Ryan was a close confidante of Essex County Sheriff ...

Three School Buses Involved in Crash at Clark's ALJ High School

June 21, 2018

CLARK, NJ - Three buses collided in the Arthur L. Johnson High School parking lot around noon on Thursday.   There were students on the buses at the time according to Police Chief Pedro Matos.   

One driver and two students had minor injuries said Matos.   According to a Honeywell alert issued by the Clark Public School District, ALJ's school nurse ...

Student Struck by Car in Front of Edison School in Westfield Thursday

WESTFIELD, NJ — An Edison Intermediate School student was struck by a car Thursday morning while crossing the street in front of the school. According to Police Chief David Wayman, he was transported to a hospital with a laceration.

In an email to parents, Principal Matt Bolton wrote that the student appeared to be doing well, and that he was following the crossing guard’s ...

Long Beach Township's Tuesday Night Concert Series Kicks Off on June 26

June 20, 2018

LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP - There will be concerts on Tuesday evenings at Bayview Park every Tuesday evening this summer. The concerts are from 7 to 9 p.m. 

Here is the Tuesday, Long Beach Township Concerts schedule:

Tuesday, June 26:  Mr. Lovejoy

Tuesday, July 3 Chris Fritz and The Impulsives presented by Barlow Buick GMC

Tuesday, July 10   Billy Walton Band ...

State Lawmakers Calling on Feds to Lift Strict Limits on Fluke Fishing for This Season

TRENTON, NJ — While New Jersey anglers began the fluke season last month with strict federal catch limits still in place, state legislators are pushing to have those regulations lifted until there is better data available on the popular fish’s offshore stock.

The State Assembly is asking the federal government to suspend a 40 percent quota reduction that enters its second year ...

Nutley Police Department Blotter June 9 to 15, 2018

June 16, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The Police Blotter is compiled each week by Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari of the Crime Intelligence Public Information Division of the Nutley Police Department.

Please note:  All parties placed under arrest have been assigned a court date and remain innocent until proven guilty of those charges at their respective hearing

Anyone who has information about any crimes can ...

How To Have One of the Toughest Parenting Talks

For parents, the most difficult conversations to have with our children are those bred by necessity. Such is the case with regards to discussion about differences between Good Touch and Bad Touch. A parenting dilemma is created when we must choose between teaching our children about danger in the world and risking their exposure to peril if we keep them naïve to its presence. In either case, ...

Therapy as Preventative Medicine for Couples

     In my years of practice, I have yet to treat a couple whose relationship was not on the precipice of ruin at the time of first contact. Their intakes are rife with blame, and subsequent sessions reveal neither partner understands his/her role in the dysfunctional dyad. Though not impossible, it is daunting work for any therapist to help rebuild relationships demolished by ...

Nutley Public Library Summer Reading Kick Off Party June 27

Register for Nutley Public Library's Summer Reading Program. For reading during the summer, receive weekly prizes and the chance to win big prizes (Nintendo Switch, gift cards, book bundles, etc....). Free for all ages, birth to teen. Register at: https://nutleypubliclibrary.beanstack.org/

June 2018 Programs at Nutley Public Library

Monday, June 4 Summer Reading Registration begins on-line.  Register on-line and stop-in to pick-up goodie bags.  Win big prizes and book bundles.  Last day to register is Saturday, July 31.

Tuesday, June 5, 12, 19, 26 at 1:00 p.m. – Play Bridge. No registration required.

Wednesday, June 6, 13, 20, 27 at 1:00 ...

This week at the Nutley Public Library May 22 - 30 2018

NUTLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY - Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, May 22, 29 - 1:00 pm - Play Bridge - No registration required.

Wednesday, May 23, 30 - 1:00 pm - Wednesday Afternoon Knitters - Come share your love of knitting and crocheting with both beginning and experienced knitters. Meet fellow knitters, brush-up on your skills, and learn some new techniques.

Nutley Sizzling Summer Concert to feature “Almost Easy” July 12

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci and the Department of Parks and Recreation are excited to announce a family event for music lovers everywhere to enjoy!   “Almost Easy” will take the stage on July 12, 2018for the Recreation Department’s Sizzling Summer Concert!  This concert will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be held at Memorial Park 1 (Mud Hole) located ...

Commissioner Tucci Opens Nutley Recreation Soccer Registration for Fall 2018

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci announces that registration forms are currently available for Fall Recreation Soccer 2018.   The Nutley Recreation Soccer Program is open to Nutley youngsters in grades 1 through 8. 

This program is designed to assist young players in developing basic skills of the game while offering a fun, semi-competitive environment.  Recreation soccer is a ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 21, 2018

TRENTON - No one questions that the state pension system is a mess. And that's why some proposed legislation is getting a critical eye. Politico says the Assembly is set to vote on a bill today that it claims is "expressly written" to fatten the pensions of Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and state Sen. James Beach (D-Camden) without them having to ...

America's Celebrated Evolving Journey

June 17, 2018

This Fourth of July, the United States of America will celebrate its 242nd birthday since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Our Nation was conceived in liberty at its core. Together we the people, with ancestors from every part of the world, continue the struggle to live by its founding noble principles.  Namely that, “We hold these truths to be ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over 86,000. Democratic ...

Labor Unions Have Set Standards for Americans

To the Editor:

I want to alert every working American to a case now before the U.S. Supreme Court.  It is called “Janus vs. AFSCME” and it seeks to defund and cripple the same labor unions that, over decades, have raised every American’s standard of living.

Even if your workplace is not unionized, you can thank our American labor unions for locking in higher standards ...

Residents and Local Businesses can Impact Learning with Nutley Educational Foundation

June 18, 2018

The Nutley Educational Foundation is a volunteer, not for profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Nutley NJ.  NEF's goal is to create exceptional learning opportunities for Nutley students by funding programs and initiatives that fall outside the school budget.  Funding comes from a variety of sources including corporate donations, matching gifts, grants, small businesses, families ...

Rutgers Equine Science Center Annual Summer Showcase Scheduled for July 11

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — The Equine Science Center at Rutgers University is hosting its annual "Summer Showcase" from 10 am to noon  on Wednesday, July 11 at the Equine Exercise Physiology Laboratory on College Farm Road on the George H. Cook Campus in New Brunswick. The Summer Showcase, similar to an open house, is a FREE event that is open to the public and perfect for any and ...

Nutley Public Library Summer Technology Workshops

This summer, the Nutley Public Library is offering Hands-on Robotics and 2-D Video Game Design classes with Dr. Christopher Masullo. For students entering Grades 4 - 6 in Fall 2018. Every class is a different lesson! Register for one or more classes at: http://youthservices.nutleypubliclibrary.org/technology-workshops-registration/. Questions? Please contact Michelle ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

Obituaries

Jun 10, 1983 - Jun 17, 2018
Ryan M. Lucas, 35 Proud Marine Veteran and Nutley Firefighter Ryan M. Lucas, a lifelong ...
Read more
Sep 4, 1943 - Jun 10, 2018
William “Bill” Tangorra, 74, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away Sunday June 10, ...
Read more