I mentioned that I recently read a book I didn’t like. I don’t like writing bad reviews of books. If I read a book that I don’t like, I assume that it just means I didn’t connect with the story in the way the author intended. Someone out there loves this book I’m sure, so the fact that I did not love it does not mean that it’s “bad”. It just means I didn’t love it.
That’s been the case with The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani. When I find an author I like, I tend to read as much of their work as I can find. The Supreme Macaroni Company is the third book of the Valentine Roncalli series, and I loved the first two books. So you can see why it was such a complete bummer that this one fell flat for me.
As I explain my reasoning as to why this book fell flat for me, there will be spoilers. So if you have any desire to read The Supreme Macaroni Company without knowing ahead of time what happens, do not continue reading. I have lots of other posts you can check out, instead.
With that being said, here we go.
I have three distinct reasons as to why I did not like this book: Valentine is not my hero; the plot was uncomfortably predictable; The Supreme Macaroni Company wasn’t so supreme Yes, only three. I’m keeping this short so it does not come off as being a complete diss of the book, which is not the intent by any means.
(Not) The Girl I Wanted to Be
Valentine. I’ve felt lukewarm about her from the start. She’s the self-described “funny one” of her three sisters, meaning she’s not the smart one or the pretty one. And it’s true, she’s funny. But her self-deprecating sarcasm has gotten old by now. The third book in her series and she’s still talking shit about herself and beating herself up emotionally about every little thing. Where’s the character growth? There isn’t any. She’s the same old complainer through and through. She didn’t turn into a real leading lady, hero, whatever word or phrase you’d like to use here, go ahead and add it. She didn’t evolve as a person/character at all.
Apparently I Do Have a Crystal Ball
Valentine and Gianluca were never a good match. I think we can all agree on that. Too much was standing in their way for their little fling to truly turn into a relationship; namely, the fact that he lives in Italy and she lives in New York, the fact that his dad and her grandma are married, and that he has an adult daughter and ex-wife which Valentine clearly does not like. To top it all off, they see eye to eye on absolutely nothing. Their dialogue in this book was well-written; in fact, it was too real. All of their conversations and fights (hard to tell the difference at times) made me feel like I was sitting next to a bickering couple at a restaurant, a couple I’d bet was going to break up, and fast. And yet Valentine and Gianluca get married anyway, all too quickly, I might add (see no. 3). My very first thought was: she’s stuck now, unless Gianluca dies since he’s so much older than her. And what should end up happening? He dies. When it happened, I felt like this. Did I really guess the ending that fast? The only way to solve the Valentine/Gianluca problem was to have him die? A relationship more than one book in the making and for what felt like nothing. Maybe it didn’t help that from the start I’ve been picturing Gianluca as Juan Pablo?
Supreme Lack of Supreme
Time jumps. Not just hours or days, but years. Who does that? This happened in The Shoemaker’s wife, too, and I didn’t care for it. At least give me a page break or a new chapter start. Don’t just start the next sentence with “six years later”. At least in The Shoemaker’s Wife it made sense. The book covered the lifetime of Ciro and Enza, so I get it, lots to get through and only so many pages to do it. But The Supreme Macaroni Company was downright short. So the time jumps just felt like a cop-out to rush to the ending of having Gianluca die. That, combined with the fact that the title of the book had an incredibly small role in the actual book, is what made the company not-so-supreme for me after all.
Now, I suppose all of this (yes, all of this) might be worth it if a fourth book comes out in which Valentine finally reunites with Brett. For good. Clearly they are meant to be together because it’s mentioned enough times in all three of the Valentine books, and it’s looking towards being inevitable. Yet the Gianluca death felt so rushed that maybe it was just a means of putting an end to this saga once and for all. The first two Valentine books were just so good that it almost felt like a betrayal to have this book be their ending. Nothing short of a complete bummer, to be sure.
We’ve all felt strongly towards books we like, or love, but have you ever felt so strongly about a book you didn’t like? Most people would probably just stop reading a book they don’t like, but in this case I was keen to finish the series and simply had to finish the book. No regrets of course, but I’m left with a bad taste nonetheless.