Russo, Marisabina

Why Is Everybody Yelling?: Growing Up in My Immigrant Family

(1) YA In graphic memoir form, Russo depicts her childhood in Queens, New York, from 1957–1967. "When I was a little girl, I took Catholicism very seriously... Despite the fact that my relatives spoke Yiddish, ate herring, and drank seltzer, it never occurred to me that I might actually be Jewish." Her divorced mother, who "became a Catholic when she lived in Italy during the war," has her own complicated relationship with the Church--and with her Jewish mother and sisters; with Marisabina's father; and with her two sons, Marisabina's half-brothers. The author's dream was "to become a nun so that I could live a calm and orderly life far from the fermisht tummel [Yiddish for 'mixed-up commotion,' per a footnote] of my own family." She instead became a prolific picture-book creator (Waiting for Hannah, rev. 9/89; Sophie Sleeps Over, rev. 3/14; and many others) and wrote about her family's experiences during WWII in the moving nonfiction picture books Always Remember Me (rev. 3/05) and I Will Come Back for You (rev. 9/11). This snapshot of her formative years (including middle-school dances, the Beatles, and JFK's assassination) is focused squarely on her idiosyncratic family members' traits and foibles at that time, gradually revealed. For example, Marisabina's noodge-y mom had received a medal for bravery for her work with the partisans during WWII. Copious panels, with dialogue that spills out from them, depict day-to-day life in color and interspersed flashbacks in black and white, providing an unvarnished look at one complicated, opinionated, and ­personality-filled family.


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