Cover image for Finding Grace
Finding Grace
Saracino, Mary, 1954-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Duluth, Minn. : Spinsters Ink, 1999.
Physical Description:
280 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
A girl narrates the destruction of her family. The mother elopes with a former priest, taking three daughters and leaving two sons with the father. One son commits suicide, the father enters a monastery, the former priest becomes abusive, the narrator and a sister flee. A sequel to No Matter What.
General Note:
Sequel to: No matter what, by the same author.
Format :


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In this novel about the breakdown of a working-class, Italian-American family, 10-year-old Peanut Giovanni describes the explosive aftermath of her mother's decision to take her three young daughters and run away with her lover, an ex-priest, leaving everything behind.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In the sequel to No Matter What (1993), 11-year-old Peanut Giovanni describes the results of her mother's decision to run away with her lover, a fallen priest. Marie Giovanni doesn't, however, find the happiness she dreamed of for herself and the three daughters she takes with her. Instead, the girls yearn for their father and become terrified of Marie's lover, who takes solace in drink and outbursts of violence. Fleeing after the man brutally beats six-year-old Rosa, the two older girls are soon wet and cold, taking refuge from a lashing winter rain in a dirty bus shelter. It is all Peanut and Rosa can think to do, and when an old woman offers real shelter and food, they warily agree, having no alternatives. When they agree, the seeds of a multifaceted transformation are planted. Finding Grace may sound crudely melodramatic, but it rises above its elements to become a compelling account of grace and redemption from alcohol abuse, poverty, domestic violence, and other aspects of family tragedy. --Whitney Scott

Publisher's Weekly Review

Eleven-year-old Regina Giovanni, nicknamed Peanut, narrates Saracino's emotionally heavy sequel to No Matter What, continuing the disturbing story of a fractured family. In 1967, Peanut's mother, Marie, decides to run away with her long-time lover, former priest Patrick Shaughnessy, leaving her husband and two teenage sons in upstate New York, while taking her three daughtersÄPeanut, six-year-old Rosa and toddler Winnie. Peanut misses her religious dad; her brothers, Joey and Danny; and her beloved dog, Zoomer. She's also figured out why Patrick dotes on Winnie and virtually ignores Rosa and herself: Patrick is Winnie's father. The runaway family relocates to Madison, Wis., where emotional turmoil ensues. "Sometimes things happen and you can't stop them, 'cuz everyone else is bigger and louder and madder than you are,'' Peanut muses. Marie is miserable with guilt, and the news of Joey's suicide pushes her over the edge. The girls' father joins a monastery, which adds to their sense of defeat. And PatrickÄwho had promised that Madison would be "Happy Town"Äbecomes increasingly hostile, critical and abusive. After he beats up Rosa, the two girls flee. Hoping to panhandle enough money to buy bus tickets back to their father, they get caught in a rainstorm, almost penniless. Freezing, wet and hungry, they are rescued by Grace, an elderly woman whose kindness and compassion teaches them valuable lessons and gives Peanut the chance to recognize and celebrate her own worth. Discovering her inner resources, she decides to resume her given name of Regina, because she is "a fighter." Though many supporting characters remain sketchy and offstage, the headstrong protagonist's valiant innocence, her heartbreaking loyalty and vulnerability and her clear, unassailable voice give this plainspoken story an affecting poignancy. Author tour. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

YA-This sequel to No Matter What (Spinsters Ink, 1993) stands on its own. Eleven-year-old Regina Giovanni, known as Peanut, tells of leaving New York with her two sisters, her mother Marie, and her mother's boyfriend, Patrick, who has just left the priesthood. Marie has deserted her husband and two young teenaged sons to begin a new life with Patrick in Wisconsin. Peanut is wise beyond her years and through her, readers begin to understand that though Marie loves her children, she is weak and selfish. The girl realizes that her youngest sister is Patrick's daughter and the real impetus behind the frenzied escape from New York. When one of the brothers left behind suddenly dies, this patched-together family pulls apart. Patrick's underlying meanness comes to the surface in a violent manner that frightens Peanut and injures her sister Rosa, and they run away. Huddled in a bus shelter, cold, wet, hungry, and frightened, Peanut and Rosa are found by Grace, an older woman with a sad history of her own. Staying with her is the respite the girls need in order to go back and face their lives in Madison. Their absence frightens Marie enough to take a realistic look at the life she has created, and, finally, to do something about it. This is a wonderful tale of love, sadness, and, eventually, hope. It is a gripping novel of a family being ripped apart and coming together again, different but stronger and more able to endure.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.