The Bird That Sang in Color makes readers think. In this novel, Grace Mattioli looks at the most profound aspects of human character. Why do we believe that our way is the only way to live a happy life? There is no answer to this question, but the road to getting there is golden.

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  • Title: The Bird That Sang in Color
  • Author: Grace Mattioli
  • Publisher: Self-Published on January 17, 2021
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Pages: 330
  • Formats Available: Paperback, Audiobook & Digital
  • Rating: 5/5

Trigger Warnings: Domestic Violence, Talk of Suicide Attempt, Alcoholism

Many thanks to Grace Mattioli for providing me with a paperback copy of The Bird That Sang in Color with a request for an honest review.

About The Bird That Sang in Color

A moving family saga about the secret to living free!

Donna Greco subscribes to a conventional view of life and she encourages her artistic brother, Vincent to do the same, but he chooses to go his own way. She harbors guilt for her supposed failure to ensure his happiness until she makes a discovery that allows her to see his internal joy and to start living authentically.

This generational saga spans decades and is filled with endearing characters, humor, and nostalgia. Reputable review sources such as Midwest Book Review have called this story “profound, thought-provoking, funny, inspiring, and beautiful.” Notable New York Times author Lidia Yuknavitch has called this book, “hugely moving, beautifully rendered, and brilliant.”

Amazon Blurb

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My Review

Donna Greco loves sitting in her brother’s room. She and Vincent sit and listen to records and play guitar. As a young teen, she felt there was no better way to spend an afternoon. As time fast forwards a bit, college-aged Donna begins to live her dream life. She will become a literature professor without a doubt. After college, Donna goes on her self-proclaimed happy path to marriage and family. She spends her time judging Vincent’s life choices. As years go by, Donna learns that the path we choose is not always the happiest one. But, will it be too late to find out this truth?


I’m not going to lie. I had high hopes for Donna, but my regard for her ebbed the more I read. Though, the reason may shock you. Donna is too much like me. I lived my whole life following the so-called happy path. But, I found myself miserable and alone in a crowded room. I also thought I knew the best path for everyone else then pushed them into those paths. Resentment grew from that path. So, while Donna irked me to my core, I hated her because I was her once upon a time.

Vincent is the person I wish I could be. His free spirit and happiness depended on no one else. He didn’t need a lot of material things, marriage, or money. He was at peace as long as he had his music and instruments. When he played his harp, I could hear it in my mind. I loved Vincent. He wasn’t perfect, but he was real.


The New Jersey setting feels like any other place. There was nothing particularly special about it. Yet, Grace’s descriptions of everything made you feel like it was your hometown. It was easy to picture the Greco childhood home, right down to the bathroom. I saw the curlers on the bedroom table. Vincent’s Atlantic City apartment was my favorite place, though. The light and the beach made me feel at home like I belonged there. When Donna and Vincent walked down the boardwalk, I could taste the saltwater taffy.

Further Thoughts

The road to the answers may not actually be golden, but Mattioli’s words are. The actual path is dirty and covered in litter and graffiti. The soul searching that takes place leaves you heartbroken and adrift. I wanted to shake Donna and knock some sense into her, but she needed to live her perfect life to learn what a happy life is. It took me some time to get through this novel because it hit so close to home. I kept crying and wishing for a do-over through the whole thing. I want to go back in time and show this book to myself. Though, I am sure it wouldn’t have been as powerful then. I needed to grow into myself before I could appreciate Grace’s words. I wish it hadn’t taken so long to grow up.

Wrapping Up

I award The Bird That Sang in Color a full 5 out of 5 stars. This bit of literary fiction ds you up and spits you out but makes you think the whole time. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever found themselves on the wrong “perfect” path.

5 Star Review

About the Author – Grace Mattioli

Grace Mattioli Author Image - The Bird That Sang in Color

Grace Mattioli is the author of three novels–Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees, Discovery of an Eagle, and The Bird that Sang in Color.

Her fiction is filled with unforgettable characters, artful prose, humor, and insight about what it takes to be truly happy.  She strongly believes that if people were happier, the world would be a better place.

She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her cats. She worked as a librarian for over twenty years and has had various other job titles, including jewelry designer, food cart owner, shopkeeper, book seller, substitute teacher, art school model, natural grocery store clerk, short order cook, food server, street vendor, barista, and a giant Twinkie!

She has been writing creatively since she was a child and has participated in various writing workshops and classes. Her favorite book is Alice in Wonderland. Her favorite author is Flannery O’Connor. Her favorite line of literature comes from James Joyce’s novella, The Dead:  “Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”


Author’s Contact Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram

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  1. This sounds like a very thought provoking read, a bit different to what I usually go for but I think that’s a great reason to put it on my TBR.

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