Sweet Pizza by G R Gemin

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Sweet Pizza by G R Gemin

Buy Sweet Pizza by G R Gemin at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Tony Taylor
Reviewed by Tony Taylor
Summary: A heart-warming tale of hope, family and community, beautifully written to capture a family's struggle and fight for survival.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 284 Date: June 2016
Publisher: Nosy Crow Ltd
ISBN: 978-0857636300

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Sweet Pizza is a beautifully rich story based in Bryn Mawr, a town in South Wales. This slow-paced story is not action-packed and electrifying but with its subtle approach provides much more than that. There is depth, layers and meaning interwoven throughout. The story is based around a failing high street where the recession has had a devastating impact on the community. As the tale unfolds, the reader is enveloped and embraced into a Welsh-Italian family who are struggling to keep their café open. Joe Davis learns of his Italian heritage by hearing his family history through Nonno, his grandfather, and appreciates how the café is pivotal to their lives in more ways than he could ever have imagined. In a series of flashbacks from events of WW2 Joe knows that he must fight for his family and his community.

Before reading this story, I had no idea that Italians in Wales were interned after Mussolini joined forces with Hitler. Men who were once pillars of society were taken from their homes and held in prisoner-of-war camps and later deported to Canada along with German POWs. The Arandora Star was one such ship which transported Italians, German nationals and POWs to Canada but in 1940 a German U-Boat torpedoed the Arandora Star killing 486 people with Italians suffering the most casualties. Throughout the story, Joe's Grandfather recounts events of loss, heroes and bravery and how a community came together to protect one of its own.

I was unsure if I was enjoying this story at the start as the story seemed to plod along, however, the more I read; the more I became embraced in the family's past, present and future. Characters are believable and I felt myself willing Joe on throughout. The author's use of opera references entwined with Italian food provides extra layers of authenticity to the story. Opera storylines, from Verdi's La Traviata and Puccini's La Bohéme, provide a delicate backdrop to Joe's dilemmas of a growing up boy in search of hope and love. I thoroughly enjoyed Sweet Pizza: by the end I had tears streaming down my face. As a Year 6 teacher, I will be recommending this book to my class as a contrast to many of the dramatic, action-packed reads which many children choose.

We also enjoyed Cowgirl by G R Gemin.

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Buy Sweet Pizza by G R Gemin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sweet Pizza by G R Gemin at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Sweet Pizza by G R Gemin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sweet Pizza by G R Gemin at Amazon.com.


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