Marianne Leone's Ma is in many senses a larger than life character who shatters expectations (and glass picture frames). Born on a farm in Italy, Linda finds her way to the U.S. under dark circumstances. She never has full command of English, especially when questioned by authorities, and when she is suddenly widowed with three young children, she has few options. To her daughter's horror and misery, she becomes the school lunch lady. Ma Speaks Up is a record of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, with the wrong family, in the wrong religion. Though Marianne's girlhood is flooded with shame, it's equally packed with adventure, love, great cooking, and above all humor. The stories she tells will speak to anyone who has struggled with outsider status in any form, and of course to mothers and their blemished, cherished, girls.