I received this book for free from Netgalley for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.At Least You're in Tuscany by Jennifer Criswell
Published by Gemelli Press on Sept. 28, 2012
Genres: Humor, Nonfiction, World or cultural
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This book is a humorous and honest look about what it's really like to pack up your life and move to a small town in Tuscany in funny, sometimes embarassing and delicious detail.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“At Least You’re in Tuscany: A Somewhat Diastrous Quest for the Sweet Life is Jennifer Criswell’s memoir about her first year in Montepulciano during which her dream of expat life meets the reality of everyday challenges and results in sometimes funny, often frustrating, always lesson-filled situations.
Jennifer Criswell’s move from New York City to Tuscany was not supposed to go like this. She had envisioned lazy mornings sipping espresso while penning a best-selling novel and jovial Sunday group dinners, just like in the movies and books about expatriate life in Italy. But then she met the reality: no work, constant struggles with Italian bureaucracy to claim citizenship through her ancestors, and, perhaps worst of all, becoming the talk of the town after her torrid affair with a local fruit vendor.
At Least You’re in Tuscany is the intimate, honest, and often hilarious tale of Jennifer’s first year in Montepulciano. During that time, her internal optimist was forced to work overtime, reminding her that if she were going to be homeless, lonely, and broke, at least she would be all those things—in Tuscany. Jennifer’s mantra, along with a healthy dose of enthusiasm, her willingness to embrace Italian culture, and lessons gleaned from small-town bumblings, help her not only build a new, rewarding life in Italy but also find herself along the way.”
At Least You’re in Tuscany is an enjoyable and easy-to-read book about one American woman’s journey to live her dream in the poppy-filled rolling hills of Tuscany. After a remarkable and inspiring vacation, author Jennifer Criswell decides to pack up her life and her old loveable dog, Cinder, to live in Tuscany. Carrying out that dream proves more difficult than she thinks when her paperwork for citizenship and residency is delayed, delayed…and delayed some more. Without the ability to work a consistent job, money and hope are dwindling and I wondered if she would make it through.
I enjoyed learning more about the nature of real life and people in Montepulciano, a little town in Italy. Being a single adult, she experienced firsthand the flirtatious nature of Italian men yet it surprised me that she spent Christmas alone since Italians spend holidays with their blood relatives and didn’t even think to invite her since she was just a friend. She even met a couple hunky men named Fabio to spice up the story.
Despite the small town nature, they had their share of Hollywood intrusions and tourists who couldn’t quite blend in to the scenery. The Twilight sequel, New Moon, was filmed in Montepulciano and it was interesting to read what the townspeople really thought of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun (which I loved, by the way).
Ms. Criswell’s humorous conversational writing style made me feel like we were friends chatting over a nice glass of wine as the sun sets on the breathtaking view from her apartment terrace. At Least You’re in Tuscany is an enjoyable, fast and easy read about the joys and realities of living in a small Italian town with its charming cobblestone streets, local markets, glorious food and wine, lots of wine.
“I wanted to live in a place where even the birds took time to enjoy the small pleasures of everyday life. Where the men looked like demigods and even when dressed as Julius Caesar giving tours at the Coliseum had the confidence to invite me to dinner. Where the pace was slower, where meals were enjoyed. I wanted this life. “Someday”, I promised the swallow…”
“But when you’re meant to be somewhere, everything in between feels like you’re treading water, just waiting for that wave to lift you and carry you onto the shore of your new land. My new land was Italy. Marcel Proust said it of Venice, but for me it was Tuscany: “I made my dream my address.”
“Whew. I’d escaped death by toilet on my first night in Italy.”
Reading Challenges Satisfied:
Around the World in 80 Books – Italy
Italy is definitely still on my bucket list of places I’d like to travel to.
If you like reading about Americans experiences living overseas, then you may also like Here We Are and There We Go by Jill Dobbe or Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Have you ever dreamed of packing up your life and moving to another country? Where do your dreams take you? always, happy reading!