Sunday, October 2, 2011

Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

On the library stacks: Adult Non-fiction
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I remember watching this movie years ago and enjoying it. I traveled to Tuscany as a teenager and I felt the cinematography brilliantly captured the essence of the beautiful landscape. The book, however, is very different from the movie--in large part, because there really is no plot to the book.

In 1988, Frances Mayes was a divorced professor, living in the Bay Area. In 1989, she and her partner Ed, decided to purchase a 250-year old farmhouse named Bramasole in Cortona, Italy. The book is really a somewhat random collection of her thoughts as they go through the decision to buy the home, perform the much-needed restoration, transform the land, play tourists, and host dinner parties. Some chapters contain recipes, in some we follow her footsteps as she explores a nearby town, and in others she explains the the difficulties inherent in such a huge undertaking.

For me, the book moved really slowly. It's the sort of book you can put down and pick up at any time. Mayes does a nice job describing the land, the food, the weather and the house. But because the book is a compilation of sorts, some things got repeated and the word "Etruscan" was overused. I really wanted to connect more with Frances, Ed, and her daughter Ashley, but I felt like there was a wall put up between us and she wouldn't let me in. Perhaps travel/home remodeling memoirs are just not for me.

Also reviewed by: Silly Little MischiefBermudaonion's Weblog ~ Book Nut ~ Your link here?
Source: BookMooch


Melissa Mc (Gerbera Daisy Diaries) said...

this is one of my favorite books of all time, but I read it in it's infancy, hubbie served mission in Rome, and just gotten engaged to said person in when I read it, it was with Italy on the brain. Not sure it would have the same feeling without all of the above.

bermudaonion said...

I listened to this one and didn't love it either. I blamed the narration (the author read it) but maybe it was the book.

Linda said...

Thanks for the link. I really wanted to like this one but just didn't.

Corinne said...

We can't love them all, right? Sometimes it is just where we're in life at the time, like Melissa said. But at least now you know!!

Melissa said...

LOL! You can't win them all. And a book that appeals to one person, won't appeal to another. That's why they're so many. And maybe travel/remodeling memoirs just aren't your thing. :-D

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I enjoyed this, but I read it well before the film was made. I enjoyed the film as well, but also knew there was no way to really make an accurate film based on the book. I liked the story they created around the premise.

I think that reading this book, after seeing the film, would be difficult.

2 Kids and Tired Books