Vina, A Brooklyn Memoir centers on my mother. Vina was brought up in a depression-era home, one of four children raised by an immigrant, hearing-impaired single mother. However, her story is not only about the immigrant experience, it is an American story very much related to my own nurturing and growing up in Brooklyn NY.
Vina was a driven, but extremely giving person. Though she spread light, she sought no recognition. She was a font of good humor and good deeds. She was a beacon to many, who lovingly remember her, and who showed that love by contributing mightily to this memoir. The stories that emerge are both poignant and entertaining. I believe that readers will be induced to smile, even laugh, during the re-telling of Vina’s stories. Of course, the stories are as much about me as about my mom and, since they can be broadly generalized as American stories, they will resonate with readers who have never been to New York City, much less the wilds of Brooklyn.
Available for purchase on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble in both softcover and e-book formats. It can be obtained in Columbia, MO at the University of Missouri Bookstore, and Yellow Dog Bookshop (8 S 9th Street).
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What Others Have Said About “Vina, A Brooklyn Memoir”
Vina, A Brooklyn Memoir is a gem, a big-hearted, funny, poignant valentine to one magnificent woman, the old days in Brooklyn and the old world in our hearts. Joe Polacco catches the voices of his family, and by the last chapter, God love them, they are everyone’s family, and Brooklyn is everyone’s neighborhood. And Vina? She’s someone you’ll never forget. Thank you, Joe.Mary Collins Barile, a granddaughter of Brooklyn, author and playwright
Vina’s light drew me to her family, friends and folks in the ‘hood, their stories often humorous and always colorful. I wanted to sit with them at her table and devour her delicious food. Thanks for introducing us, Joe.Susan Crockenberg, Professor of Psychology Emerita, University of Vermont
Joe Polacco put me across the table swapping stories about growing up, family and friends, the old neighborhood, and of course, parents. Joe’s totally genuine and authentic story telling completely drew me in. My mother used to say, especially when cooking, ”Everyone is a little bit Italian.” She was right; I could feel it coming out as I read. Many thanks, Joe, for letting us in on your memories.Mark Holland, Professor and Emeritus Head of Biology, University of Salisbury
Joe Polacco’s expression of love for his mother Vina, and for his childhood Bensonhurst, Brooklyn neighborhood, is “all good, tasty and sustaining.” Particularly compelling are the often humorous neighborhood interactions that produced deep friendships across ethnic lines. These relationships sustained Vina during her life and have comforted those left behind.Lori Younker, Author and President of the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers’ Guild