Title: Like Family
Author: Paolo Giordano
Format: ARC from Publisher – Pamela Dorman Books
My rating: 4/5
“When a young married couple hire a middle-aged widow during the wife, Nora’s, difficult pregnancy, they don’t realize the dominating force she will become in their small family. Signora A–maid, nanny, and confidante–becomes the glue in their household, and over time, the steady and loving presence whose benign influence allows them to negotiate the complexities of married life. But the delicate fabric of the young family comes undone when Signora A is diagnosed with lung cancer. After she becomes too sick to work, both husband and wife feel the strain of her absence. Moving seamlessly between the past and present, Giordano weaves together the layers of Signora A’s devotion and sacrifice–from her early experiences of love during a tragically short marriage, to her adoration of her new surrogate family. Highlighting the joy of youth and the fleeting nature of time with remarkable precision and lyricism, Paolo Giordano gives us a meditation on life, death, and the relationships we build in between. Like Family is not a simple love story; it’s a story about love in its many forms, and how a capacity for love can give meaning to any existence, no matter how ordinary”
Such a beautiful tribute to a woman who meant more to a small family than they ever thought possible. I could feel the power of family beyond blood-relation – recounting the moments of clarity through challenges of early marriage and difficult childbirth and rearing. The wisdom and perspective from a selfless caretaker won me over immediately as I was drawn into the compassion and connecting with every emotion the family experienced – love, loss, and frustration.
Thinking about modern families lately, I feel that the term ‘family’ has become more inclusive of people who aid the biological immediate members. This story is quintessential to what a family nowadays looks like AND feels like. Mrs. A. is the kind of woman who says not what you want to hear but what you need to hear – and you cannot help but love her for what she is doing for you and the ones you love. The roles reverse when Mrs. A. becomes sick herself – that is where we see the power of love and family in action – something I wish we would see more often. I feel that in America, some families are quick to send those who are sick or reaching an older age to a home or facility – although yes they can be with others in similar situations, I still believe it may feel lonely. The main family in this story know that they want to do and be more for Mrs. A. That’s a love we all should know and believe in. Giordano presents to us readers a simple, short story that is bigger than those quick pages.
Read Like Family if you like the themes of: