Photo: Rosemarie on left, I’m in pink on your right, and Camille behind me. We met at our local bookstore cafe, Revelations, to discuss the Italy book we read this Spring called, The Reluctant Tuscan – How I Discovered My Inner Italian, by Phil Doran. He was also a writer and producer of the popular television shows, The Wonder Years and Who’s the Boss.
Our Italian Book Club only consists of the 3 of us because we meet randomly, calling and emailing back and forth until we figure out when we’re all in town, with a book we are excited about reading. This would drive most book club members crazy.
I highly recommend The Reluctant Tuscan for anyone, and especially the women who are joining me at the La Dolce Vita Italy Retreat in Monterosso, on the Italian Riviera September 12-20. Actually, the book is not just for women. Our husbands really liked the book too.
I enjoyed this Book Review on The Reluctant Tuscan by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, author of Pen on Fire:
“The Reluctant Tuscan is the sort of travel narrative that is both hilariously funny and informative, comic and poignant, savory and sweet. Think Frances Mayes and Dave Barry, sprinkle with parmesan and olive oil, and you’ll soon know the irresistible quality dancing on Doran’s page.”
I loved this book for 3 reasons:
1.) It made me laugh out loud, actual belly laughing repeatedly throughout the book. How often does that happen? That’s easily worth the $15!
2.) Phil Doran’s descriptions of the people, culture, and idiosyncracies are so perfect. His writing puts you right into the scene, and is written extremely well. I read half of the book on the plane from New York City back to the Midwest, and when I exited the plane, I had been so absorbed into Italy, I was surprised (and disappointed) when I looked around and realized I was in Iowa.
3.) The book ends with him spending some time in Monterosso al Mare in the Cinque Terre, which is where we are staying during our La Dolce Vita Workshop!
Here is one of my favorite sections in the book. To read another excerpt check out Phil Doran’s site.
“…..I understood why I felt such hostility toward the Italians. I never cried, I rarely screamed, and I didn’t even laugh that loud. Whenever I came up against the vast range of their feelings and the unfiltered intensity of their emotions, it made me squirm. All the while, I wasn’t even aware of how much I envied their ability to participate in their own lives. It took a near-death experience for me to feel even a tiny fraction of what the average Italian experiences every time he hugs his mamma, gazes at a sunset, or tickles a baby. Her words were the single stone that started the avalanche. My chin began to tremble and there was a pinprick of tears behind my eyes. I was connecting with my inner Italian, that deeply buried part of each of us that craves to savor life to its fullest.”
Let me know what you think of it. Do you have other favorite books about Italy? Check out more of my favorites on the right column on this blog.
You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.