(Image from Adriana Trigiani's website)
Last night, my mother and I took a trip to RJ Julia, the wonderful independent bookstore in Madison, Connecticut, to hear Adriana Trigiani read from her new book, Brava, Valentine. Adriana has written many books, all about Italian families and strong individuals, love and communities, and I think I've read them all. They are funny, well-written, heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time, probably because her writing is so clear and true. In her work, she seems so relatable but I always attributed that to the topics she writes about. However, after spending an hour listening to her speak to a room full of woman (and some men!), it's obvious that she is full of life and more down-to-earth than I ever could have hoped.
Adriana has a background in improv which she used to her advantage in front of a crowd. She had the entire room laughing at her stories and anecdotes, most of which revolved around her family. Beforehand, we weren't sure if the event was going to be a reading and then a book signing or just the signing. What Adriana offered was so much better: a personalized presentation that gave insights into her life and the material from which she draws for her writing. My mother and I truly enjoyed ourselves and I'm so happy she was able to come with me.
Afterward, we all waited in line patiently for our books to be signed. Adriana was truly thankful to everyone that showed up and had a mini-conversation with all of her fans. There were even some people that drove nearly two hours from Boston to be at this reading. One of those attendees brought her Italian pastry and she jumped up and gave him a huge hug. It's things like this that make it obvious that she has a strong following! When we got up to the desk, Adriana signed our books with a rust-colored sharpie. She shook our hands, thanked us again for coming. And here was my favorite part of the night: She looked right at me and told me that I looked like a writer. She told me to keep writing, that she loved my name (she added a little extra to the end which I loved, calling me "Crystalina," perhaps to make it more Italian) and that I had a 'good' author name. Adriana told me she supports young writers and that I should e-mail her. Ms. Trigiani gives off such a welcoming vibe that I really am thinking about e-mailing her, letting her know that I love her new book and thanking her for being an inspiration to an aspiring author.