Time and time again “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Caroline Manzo has been the voice of reason on Bravo’s most dramatic “Housewives” show. Sure, she’s raised her voice on the series and gotten into some heated arguments—particularly with fellow star Teresa Giudice—but more often than not Manzo is filmed dishing out advice to her cast mates, trying to keep the peace (and sanity). So it seems only fitting that Bravo’s sage Italian mother should write a book. Titled “Let Me Tell You Something,” Manzo’s book answers her fans questions about her super strong family bonds. She spoke with FOX 411 about her thoughts on the show and her writing adventure.
FOX 411: Do you get tired of the drama in the show?
Manzo: It’s not easy being in the middle of the drama. Anyone who says it’s fun isn’t telling the truth. I believe through our show there are many lessons to be learned. We are a show about family and quite frankly we have the guts to put it out there and I [dare] viewers to watch the show and not recognize themselves or a situation they’ve been through.
FOX 411: What’s been the best thing about doing the show?
Manzo: I always say the greatest gift for me was [my son] Albie [opening up] about his learning disability. It showed him that he wasn’t alone, that he wasn’t a failure. It encouraged him to pursue his dreams in other areas and he can empower people to do the same thing…. As a mom I told him that but he never believed it but getting letters from all over the world made him understand it wasn’t just him.
FOX 411: Why did you decide to write this book?
Manzo: The viewers have over the years been asking the same questions over and over again and I just felt it was time to write it.
FOX 411: What were the most common questions?
Manzo: How do you manage to maintain a healthy relationship with your children? How did you manage to raise three children that maintain a close relationship with each other? And how do you manage to have a healthy marriage after all these years?
FOX 411: You write that you shouldn’t be friends with your kids.
Manzo: I think a mistake a lot of parents today make is to bend, to be politically correct and let everyone have their own rights. You don’t have that option as a parent. I believe that children need that line drawn in the sand. They need to know they have to answer to somebody. Becoming your child’s friend is a very dangerous thing. If you can’t answer to your parents who can you answer to?
FOX 411: You say you couldn’t understand why Bravo hired you?
Manzo: Yes, I felt like I didn’t fit the mold. I never aspired to be a TV personality. I was more than happy being a wife and mother selling real estate. When this came along I didn’t think I’d be an asset to the franchise at all. It was more or less a leap of faith. I thought I’d do it for one season, probably get fired but it would be something fun.
FOX 411: Would you prefer not seeing Teresa?
Manzo: That’s not true at all. When there’s a history with someone whether or not you’re on the same page or whether or not you get along you don’t sever ties. I don’t like to burn bridges. You miss the good times and you’re sorry for what happened and that’s not to say bridges can’t be mended.
FOX 411: You have a persona as a no-nonsense Italian mother.
Manzo: That’s who I am. It’s not an act. I believe you have to earn your stripes, respect is earned, you have to work hard, be kind. At times it’s perceived as being hardnosed but it’s doing what’s expected of you in life.
FOX 411: You know, people love when you talk about family and loyalty.
Manzo: I’m just me and I don’t understand what’s so good about it because I feel like everyone should be that way. I find it bizarre. Why doesn’t everyone value loyalty and integrity?