NC Literary Hall of Fame



The Gift Best Given: A Memoir by Edward Di Gangi

Beddington Court Press
$16.99, paperback / $9.99, e-book
May, 2020
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or from the author

“Like a jigsaw puzzle, every story is made up of pieces; big ones, smaller ones, pieces not easily found, tiny and hiding, essential to complete the picture.”

At almost seventy years old, Edward Di Gangi had never given much thought to the fact he was adopted. However, a cemetery visit and a book about a favorite author’s search for lost family suddenly compel him to embark on a genealogical quest to discover his origins. As he digs deeper, he begins to piece together the life story of an extraordinary woman—his birth mother.

Far from being the ordinary woman that Di Gangi had envisioned, Genevieve Knorowski was an aspiring “artista” who left home at the age of seventeen in the midst of World War II to join an ice-skating company in Vancouver. Journeying alone by train across the continent from New York, Genevieve would go on to achieve fame as an ice show performer, skating in the United States, Central and South America, and across Europe. However, it is a decision Genevieve makes on Easter Sunday in a church on New York City’s Upper West Side that will forever connect the life of a young woman pursuing her dreams with the life of a seventy-year-old man searching for answers to the lifelong questions of who we are, where we come from, and what family means.

In The Gift Best Given: A Memoir, the details of Di Gangi’s search for his biological parents are interwoven throughout the story he tells of a determined young woman who left her home in a New York City suburb at the age of seventeen in 1942 to travel across the country alone by train to join a touring ice show in Vancouver, British Columbia. After performing in Canada, Mexico and across the United States, she returned to New York, unknown to her parents, to manage her son’s unplanned birth in 1948. The book speaks to those touched in any way by adoption and will intrigue family historians and those curious about the use of DNA in tracing and establishing family relationships.

Edward Di Gangi is a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network as well as other local writers' groups. He is the author of numerous short stories. The Gift Best Given: A Memoir is his first full-length book. Di Gangi is retired and lives in Hillsborough, NC, with his wife Linda. Their son, James, lives in nearby Durham.

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