The Right Thing to Do

The Right Thing to Do

11.16 13.95

Josephine Gattuso Hendin
A novel exploring the father-daughter relationship in an Italian American family.

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Paperback Edition
Publication Date: 10-01-1999

Afterword by Mary Jo Bona

On a stroll in his Queens neighborhood, Sicilian-born Nino Giardello glimpses his daughter, ambitious nineteen-year-old Gina, heading for the subway. Silently, he follows her to Manhattan and watches, outraged, as she walks into the arms of a golden-haired stranger. The incident confirms Nino's worst suspicions about his decidedly American daughter. It also challenges Nino's power as capofamiglia, a disruption to his ideas about family life, and an insult to his heritage. In a struggle that exceeds all boundaries, including death, father and daughter will engage in a conflict of generations that is likewise a conflict of cultures.

Josephine Gattuso Hendin captures New York Italian immigrant life with startling precision, bringing to life the intricate web of a community's everyday transactions and exploring the multifaceted father-daughter relationship at the heart of the Italian American family. A coming-of-age novel that is both wryly funny and achingly sad, The Right Thing to Do burns with the conflicting desires of two cultures, two generations, two sexes, each with its own intensely defined needs and ethical systems.

"The Right Thing to Do effectively portrays both New York's Italian immigrant milieu and one man's rage at his own powerlessness in the face of his child's hunger for life." —Booklist

"Father Nino is an interesting character—overbearing but not coarse, not the undershirted whassamattayou of the stereotype. . . . Hendin has invested her novel with familial dignity . . . credibility and intelligence." —Kirkus

"Hendin's novelistic skill emerges in her portrait of the tyrannical father Nino—one of the memorable characters of recent fiction." —Alix Kates Shulman, author of Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen