Hello Beautiful

I was surprised how much I enjoyed reading “Hello Beautiful” by Ann Napolitano. It is basically a novel about a family and the choices they make as they live their lives. Some choices are good, some are bad and some are tragic. Through it all, the relationships in the family change – but love comes through in every page of the story. I was sorry when the last chapter ended!

William Waters grew up with parents who were not able to love him and he felt invisible, awkward and lost for many years. Then basketball found him and his life had a purpose. While at Northwestern University, William meets and falls for Julia Padavano and is swept into her emotional Italian American family – her parents, Charlie and Rose and her 3 sisters, Sylvie, Emmeline and Cecelia. The Padavanos came alive on the pages – what great characterization!! (I could picture each sister so vividly!) The plot follows the family through William and Julia’s wedding and the next 25 years. Chapters are narrated by William, Julia and Sylvie – it was wonderful to see different events through each of their perspectives. I loved the character of William’s best friend, Kent – a basketball teammate and future doctor. My favorite character, though, was Charlie. (You’ll see why if you read the novel.)

I hope you get a chance to read “Hello Beautiful”!! The Chicago setting was so familiar and the Padavano sisters were intense and emotional. You might be disappointed with some of their choices in life, but love and forgiveness find a way to heal many hurts. (Napolitano brings “Little Women” into the novel several times, but you don’t need to know that story to love “Hello Beautiful”.) I laughed and I cried through these wonderfully written pages!!! Read this one!

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