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Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir by…

Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir

by Danielle Trussoni

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A vivid and poignant portrait of a daughter's relationship with her father, this funny, heartbreaking, and beautifully written memoir "makes plain that the horror of war doesn't end in the trenches"

As Danielle trails her father through nights at Roscoe's Vogue Bar, scores of wild girlfriends, and years of bad dreams, a vivid and poignant portrait of a father-daughter relationship unlike any other emerges. Although the Trussonis are fiercely committed to each other, theirs is a love story filled with anger, stubbornness, outrageous behavior, and battle scars that never completely heal.

Beautifully told in a voice that is defiant, funny, and yet sometimes heartbreaking, Falling Through the Earth immediately joins the ranks of those classic memoirs whose characters imprint themselves indelibly into readers' lives.

In this awkward weave of her father's tale with her self-absorbed growing-up memoir, Trussoni sacrifices emphasis and dilutes empathy. Danielle is endlessly forgiving of this case-hardened vet who is relentlessly mean, paranoid and petty. He is a prototype of the guy who came home and didn't know why he was a survivor. Trussoni has captured the essence of being in bloody battle one day and home the next, and then trying to make sense of it all.

It helps one to understand somewhat more of our soldiers from Vietnam or any war for that matter that didn’t get the help they needed to cope with all they went thru in war.
Her father just wasn’t able to cope and the sadness how it affected his daughter and whole family. Danielle is a strong, loving person who was dealt a bad hand. I shed many tears while reading this book. Heartwarming, heart wrenching, and eye-opening.

Danielle finds herself sometimes the responsible adult, sometimes a stubborn teenager all over again. But in the end, what we discover is that this father and daughter is more than anything is the love and the toughness that makes them alike.

I would happily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs. This writer has a great future and I will look forward to more of her books. ( )
  MaryAnn12 | May 25, 2013 |
Excellent memoir by the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran who spends her childhood trying to cope with and understand her volatile dad. The book follows her life with him in one thread and her recent trip to Vietnam in another. It seems to me that the childhood reminiscence bits are more successful than her attempt to retrace her father's wartime footsteps. The Vietnam thread would have been far more interesting if she had included her interviews with her father, verbatim, or if he had gone with her on the trip. As it is, her combat recreations seem speculative and the inclusion of her metaphoric (?) pursuer just a little too self consciously artistic.

These are minor quibbles, though, it really is a very good book. ( )
  koeeoaddi | Mar 30, 2013 |
In her emotional memoir, Danielle Trussoni writes about her relationship with her father throughout her early life. Dan Trussoni was her mentor throughout her childhood, and even though he was untrustworthy, drank heavily, and had a terrible temper, she always stuck with him. Trussoni writes about life before her parents divorced, as well as her decision to live with her father rather than stay with her mother. As she grows older, her relationship with him changes dramatically, and she begins to wonder why he is the way he is, and her search takes her back to Vietnam, where her father served as a tunnel rat during the war. Although this book was interesting and emotional throughout, I thought that her life stories could have been shared in a way that made the reader connect more with her emotions throughout her life. Part of the reason that it was harder to connect with her was her hard exterior, which she used to protect herself during her childhood, which made her and the reader disconnected from her emotions. Personally, I found the stories about her childhood to be more interesting than those from while she was in Vietnam, which made me lose some interest at the end, where the focus shifts more to her later life. All in all, I found Falling Through the Earth to be a good read, but not the most compelling or emotional book I have ever read.

Sarah S.
  FolkeB | Feb 4, 2011 |
didn't finish it - just could not connect. ( )
  WinonaBaines | Sep 24, 2010 |
This was a somewhat dark, interesting read, partly because it was written by a local LaCrosse author, about her life growing up there in the 80's. My husband even read it in a day. ( )
  EllenH | Jul 23, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312426569, Paperback)

Another casualty of the Vietnam War, Danielle Trussoni has told her story in Falling Through the Earth with bravado, pride, sadness, and candor. Her father, Daniel, served as a tunnel rat, one of the incredibly brave men who went into the webs of tunnels and rooms searching for Vietnamese guerillas hiding out underground. The heat and stench, the courage combined with fear, the claustrophobic confinement, and the incessant tension are recounted with an immediacy that only one who has been there, or knows someone who has, could tell. In fact, Danielle Trussoni went to Vietnam and was guided through the tunnels, trying to follow, literally, in her father's footsteps.

The Trussoni family of Onalaska, Wisconsin, is famous for bar fights and not much else. Daniel is a thug like his brothers, all of whom pride themselves on being tough guys who might just be mobbed up, although there is no proof of that.

Trussoni Thanksgivings were like boxing matches. There was sure to be a rumble on the front lawn of my grandparents' house and a rematch at the tavern down the street... A little blood before dinner was what aperitifs were to other families.

In this atmosphere, Danielle, her sister Kelly, and her brother Matt are trying to raise themselves, or just stay out of the way. After getting a job and some sense of self, Mom takes on a boyfriend and asks Dad to leave. According to Danielle, Dad is pretty broken up about the departure, so she goes to live with him and is treated to a steady round of women callers. The other two children stay with their Mom. Most evenings, Daniel takes Danielle to Roscoe's, the neighborhood tavern, where she sits and watches him get drunk and tell his Vietnam stories. Over and over again. Every so often, he forgets her and she has to make her own way home.

Danielle is endlessly forgiving of this case-hardened vet who is relentlessly mean, paranoid and petty. He is a prototype of the guy who came home and didn't know why he was a survivor. Trussoni has captured the essence of being in bloody battle one day and home the next, and then trying to make sense of it all.

Alternating chapters tell of her father's time in Vietnam, her own journey there, and their messy lives--starting with the divorce and continuing until her adulthood. Family secrets are revealed; Danielle realizes that her mother was not the only person at fault in the breakup of the marriage and that her defense of her father was not always appropriate.

She is finally able to say, after writing him a letter outlining her grievances, "I wanted you to know I was hurt by the way I grew up. ...I wanted you to know how hard I've tried to get through to you, how much work it has been for me." There has never been a daughter more loyal than Danielle Trussoni. --Valerie Ryan

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

From her father, Danielle Trussoni learned rock 'n' roll, how to avoid the cops, and never to shy away from a fight. Growing up, she was fascinated by stories of his adventures as a tunnel rat in Vietnam, where he risked his life crawling into holes to search for American POWs. Ultimately, Danielle came to believe that when the man she adored drank too much, beat up strangers, or mistreated her mother, it was because the horror of those tunnels still lived inside him. Eventually her mom gave up and left, taking all the kids except one. When everyone else washed their hands of Dan Trussoni, Danielle would not. -- back cover.… (more)

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