Monday, January 16, 2012
The Room with a Beehive by Comizia Bellocchi Scoccianti (Author) and Patrizia Argentieri (Translator)
An ancient world full of values and traditions gives way to a new society. During the difficult change, accentuated by the climate of World War II, a young woman firmly tackles life challenges with inventive, initiative and disarming grace. This true story is refreshing and poetic, inspirational and stirring.
The Room with a Beehive is a family memoir that is set in the small Italian town, Le Marche, before and after World War II. It is a fascinating chronicle of day-to-day life when times were less complicated and more tranquil. What I found most fascinating was how people in the village seemed more like family than neighbors, where they were self-sufficient and people helped people. One of my favourite parts of the book describes how they raised silkworms to make their own silk that was considered superior to that of China.
As the memoir progresses, the author takes us through the events leading to World War II, the shortage of food and supplies, and how they managed to survive despite the vast numbers of men who were called to arms and the hardships born by the women left behind.
I found myself fascinated with the story because it brought to life the era in which my own parents lived in Italy and their stories about how they survived the horrendous events that affected their lives during the war. It swept me back to a simple time, where people depended and trusted each other for help and support. Lush with vividly detailed descriptions about people, places, food, and items, this book provided wonderful insight into Italian daily village life. This book is definitely a must read – especially for readers with Italian roots.