Melissa Gorga

Melissa shares how difficult it was to write about her father.

on Jun 24, 2013

I’m sorry, but is there a more obnoxious phrase than “pussy whipped?” I’ll die saying that a man who treats his wife with respect, who is loving, supportive, and faithful, and who comes home every night is NOT pussy whipped. In my book, that man is a king and his wife is his queen. My marriage is strong because of our mutual respect and devotion to each other. Joe and I have the relationship I always fantasized about since I was a little girl.

A lot of the episode was about my father. He was an incredible man, a loving father, and a great provider. As a husband, he wasn’t the best. It was a hard decision to write about him. But Love Italian Style is about my marriage, and my parents’ marriage is part of that story. In any memoir, the writer has to include a chapter or two about her childhood. I agreed with my team at St. Martin’s Press (love them all) that a memoir would be incomplete without it. The heartbreaks of those years made me who I am now. So Chapter 1 in my book is called, “The First Man in My Life,” about my father. I sought a partner like my father in many ways -- ambitious, funny, an adoring parent -- but his opposite in others. He didn’t come home every night. I was determined to find a man who did. And I found that man and more in Joe.

As necessary as it was to bring up those memories, it was painful as hell. It was devastating to go through the photos and find the card my father sent me within a week of his death. I struggled with translating those emotions to the page, believe me. Writing wasn’t easy, especially with three kids running around, screaming for cookies and juice. I had to do most of the work at night after the kids went to sleep.