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Sunday, March 17, 2013

* At Least You're in Tuscany: A Somewhat Disastrous Quest for the Sweet Life by Jennifer Criswell

When Jennifer Criswell finds that her water heater starts erupting into flames in the bath, she thinks to herself, 'At least I'm in Tuscany!'  A pretty American lawyer with Italian ancestry, Jennifer decides to move to Tuscany and fulfill her dreams of living in Italy and writing.  She finds herself saying this mantra a lot, however, because her Italian life doesn't begin well.

Surprisingly, life in the little town of Montepulciano is not idyllic for Jennifer.  Her misadventures include crying in the street, beging gossipped about, and wearing herself out picking grapes.  She has difficulty making friends and finding work.  Italians love drama, but they apparently don't like people crying in public, so they aren't sympathetic.  She also has trouble learning Italian, and her crush on her teacher doesn't help.

This book might actually make you decide NOT  to move to Italy.  It's not easy, and it's a lot of hard work! But it's the most beautiful country in the world, after all, so Jennifer gives it her best shot.

I read this in Italy, and it was perfect holiday reading.  I loved Jennifer's lyrical descriptions of the countryside and amusing tales of her misadventures.  It was an enjoyable change from reading about Americans who move to italy and write about renovations, or their wonderful lives.

I hope that Jennifer writes more books about her life in Italy!

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