Rudy J. Favretti's Jumping the Puddle: Zoldani to America broke my streak of stiff immigration histories. Written colloquially, Jumping the Puddle is both a straight-out history and a personal narrative. The first part of the book describes the daily life of immigrants Italians from Zoldani both in Italy and in Old Mystic, Connecticut. Favretti delves into personal experiences, referencing individual Zoldani, their successes and their tragedies. The second part of the book touches on Favretti's personal histories. Both parents came from Zoldani but for different reasons. Through their experiences, he traces how the Zoldani transformed once they arrived in Connecticut and gave way to new generations.
This book was one of those titles that I would never have touched if it hadn't been recommended. I do most of my work in the Middletown area, which has a Sicilian - not mainland Italian - population. Yet, Favretti's book attracts me on two levels. First, it's on a population I never would have known. They have an interesting history and a strong sense of tradition. Second, Favretti manages to tell the story of his family without making it only about his family. It's a lesson we all can learn.