“My Mother’s Restaurant” is a moving portrait of an Italian immigrant family’s struggles in the first half of 20th century America. The author, Sylvia Perkins, has written a beautiful memoir of her childhood that highlights not only her own family’s experience during this time, but sets it against greater historical events. Told from the perspective of a child, we see not only the hard work and sacrifice, but the deep love and respect the family members show to each other. This true story has everything: tragedy, humor, generational and cultural clashes, all mingled with moments which are pure fun. As the child Sylvia would say, it leaves you with “an elegant sufficiency,” a feeling of emotional fullness and sweetness.
Sylvia Perkins is a retired Housing Director and Legislative Assistant. She lives with her husband in Raleigh, N.C.