The Resident Reviews A Girl from the Hill- A Parent’s Hardship and Recovery

English: Dahlia 'Graceland'

English: Dahlia ‘Graceland’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Resident, is a local Mystic, CT paper, and the first publication that reached out to me for an interview once A Girl From the Hill became available.

What follows is the interview, which is not electronically available yet.  You can check out there site, http://www.theresident.com/ as I’m hoping it will be out there soon.

The gentleman who interviewed m, Roger Zotti, did send me a hardcopy in the mail, which I received yesterday.  To say I was touched by his effort is an understatement.

A Parent’s Hardship and Recovery – by Roger Zotti

The best way to understand the power of Patricia L. Mitchell’s “A Girl from the Hill:  My Mother’s Journey from Italian Girl to American Woman” (Balboa Press) is to give you a taste.  Consider “The Old Crow,” perhaps the book’s most telling chapter, which is about the ‘very severe depression’ Patricia’s mother, Dahlia Lydia Fiore Testa, suffered.  It’s about Dahlia’s numerous fears, especially “the fear of anyone seeing how frightened she was.”

But Patricia’s book is also about recovery, family, and love.  After her “three-week eternity” in the hospital, Dahlia began “her recovery and reintegration into daily life, (which) took a long time … My mother credits a doctor name Mangiacori with saving her life and helping with her recovery.  He helped her see that she could toughen up on the outside if she could stop holding it all in on the inside.”

When The Resident asked Patricia , who resides in Smithfield Rhode Island, what prompted her to write “A Girl From the Hill,” she replied that since age ten she wanted to become a writer.  ” I procrastinated a bit, but despite my education and passion for writing, I always lacked the confidence to go public.”  She credits Lisa Turner (Tener), her book coach, with inspiring her to “shake out the confidence within me.  Writing about my mother’s life gave me the opportunity to give something to her … with the hope it would resonate with mothers, daughters and Italian Americans.”

Over the years Dahlia kept notes which Patricia typed for her.  “The more she and I talked about her life, her struggles and her accomplishments, the more I knew her story needed to be told,” Patricia says.  “Her family came here at the turn of the 20th century, a time when so many other Italian Americans were coming to the U.S., and to Rhode Island in particular.”

And what Patricia ended up with “is a chronicle of her mother’s life, through a series of essays that I hope speak to her essence as a daughter, a wife, a mother and the woman she has become over the past 88 years.”

The book’s takeaway message, Patricia hopes, “is an appreciation of my mother’s humble, but important life.”  If that happens, “my goal is achieved.  It’s important to learn about our parents and grandparents’ lives.  I believe we can learn a lot about ourselves if we delve into the character and motivations of our parents.  That dialogue is what I hope results from reading A Girl from the Hill.”

Most challenging about writing the book was first, “finding the time.  I work full time, am a wife and mother, so I had to squeeze in time whenever possible.”  Second was “capturing my mother’s nervous breakdown in 1955.  I needed to capture the feelings she experienced, but I didn’t want to come off as melodramatic or overstated.  I cried a lot while I wrote about it, and had to walk away for days, sometimes weeks, in order to gain my composure.”

Patricia L. Mitchell’s well-crafted, often profound book is illuminating and honest.  The story of an intelligent woman’s hardships and successes, it’s guaranteed to, yes, resonate with readers.

7 thoughts on “The Resident Reviews A Girl from the Hill- A Parent’s Hardship and Recovery

  1. Mr. Zotti was spot-on with his questions and comments. He got right to the point of the book and your purpose. You honored your mother and also yourself as a daughter. You are awesome!

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    • Thank you Laura!! As always I am grateful. The revised book has passed Balboa’s review process so hopefully it will be on the shelves soon and this whole thing will be behind me.

      Can’t wait to read your new post today! xo P

      Pat Mitchell

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