I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Amazon.com Synopsis: The girls had read all about living in Italy. The way it worked in all those pink, glossy novels was: woman comes to Italian city. Woman buys farmhouse in Tuscany. Woman’s toilet overflows. Woman has a good cry. Woman achieves self-realization.
As Lilian was learning, living in Italy was no vacation. As a fifty-something academic living in Rome, she didn’t feel any closer to self-realization, and she had bigger problems than plumbing. Her professor ex-husband had just started dating her boss (the Chair of the department), and if that weren’t enough she’s just found herself in an Italian Emergency Room, where the people around her seem “to be speaking some dialect of squirrel”. Language problems won’t hold her back, as she’s got her friends Brennan (an athlete constantly risking deportation), and Suzanne (a newly divorced, single mother) to translate.
This story follows these three unlikely friends in different stages of life over the course of a year: broken bones, dates in the Catacombs, multiple boyfriends named Massimo, spelunking into cavernous Roman ruins, killing one’s own turkey in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, explaining to a nun how adorable one’s own child is after he is expelled, learning how to get some sleep when you’ve rented a room in a church directly under the church bells.
As things get ever more messy these women will discover if they can get it all sorted, with or without all the “ciao bellas”.
Rome for Beginners is skosh heavier than an average Chick Lit book, yet a smidgen lighter than normal Women’s Fiction. Readers who love quirky reading or summer fare, who like satire, who like a biting sense of humor, and who are curious about Italian life should love this book. Lovers of Rome should also love the book, as the city is a character unto itself.
My Review: 3 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed the characters in this book and the setting. It reminded me a bit, with the dialogue and the flow of the book, of the Sex and the City Girls. Having never been to Rome, the author was able to paint a very vivid picture for me of what it might be like to visit/live there. I liked being able to learn a little bit about each character, kind of soap opera style (one story, then another story, then back to the first story and so on). The book had a real life feel to it. The escapades experienced by the women weren’t out of this world or far fetched which I felt was important in this book. Traveling to foreign countries, or even migrating to foreign countries cannot be all wine and roses. 🙂 I definitely enjoyed the humor in the book as well. I did feel that the book dragged a bit in places and some parts were a bit rushed as far as the story was concerned. I wanted to fall into the characters and their stories, but felt sometimes it was too choppy and needed a bit more finesse. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would read a sequel if the author ever decided to bring the friends back for round 2.