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All Over the Map Paperback – June 28, 2011


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All Over the Map + An Italian Affair + Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307450643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307450647
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers familiar with Fraser's work in Gourmet, O the Oprah Magazine, More, and other publications may recognize the author's efforts at self-improvement, attempts at finding love, or meals she's had in places like Lima, Peru: "We try ceviche of wild sea bass with lime and red onions... we have spicy chifa food in a downtown Chinese restaurant... we stuff ourselves with stuffed peppers..." In following up An Italian Affair, Fraser takes a closer look at her own wanderlust and examines the positive and negative effects it has had on her life, particularly over the past 10 years. For example, the author finds a glorious waterfall in Samoa. "The water is so clear light blue it's possible to see all the way to the bottom, and the bottom is a long way down. I dive in for a swim... this is why I love to travel." But she questions the notion of having it all, or having it all at once, and worries that her desire to explore and her professional success have come at the expense of stability and family. She challenges the ideals of happiness and home she had previously held, adding a layer of depth to a memoir that will excite travelers of the world and the armchair alike.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Travel writer Fraser enchanted readers with her tale of her postdivorce romance with a sophisticated French professor in An Italian Affair (2001). She continues the story here, beginning with the end of the affair after the professor finds someone he wants to settle down with. Fraser wants the same thing, but she still finds herself most drawn to free-spirited men looking for flings, not relationships. An assault in Samoa leaves her shaken—and afraid to travel alone. Fraser turns her focus inward, trying to find peace through meditation and to temper her impulsiveness. Her forty-fifth birthday brings the end of a relationship and the beginning of something new when Fraser travels to the Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende and finds herself contemplating buying a house. The title is an apt description of both Fraser’s travels—which include jaunts to Italy, Provence, and Rwanda described in evocative, lush prose—and her frame of mind over the course of the eight years that her winning coming-of-middle-age memoir spans. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

I'm a longtime freelance writer, San Franciscan, and literature junkie. I'm excited about my new book, All Over the Map, which is a memoir about what happens in midlife when things don't exactly go as planned--and you take a few plane trips to figure out how to come to terms with that, learning a lot of other life lessons along the way. The book is, in some ways, a sequel to my bestselling memoir, An Italian Affair. People who loved that book (thank you for so many of your kind letters!) will see what happens next in All Over the Map. Unlike An Italian Affair, this book isn't written in the second person ("you") but the first person ("I"), so I won't have to answer quite so many questions about why I wrote it that way.

I make my living as a writer, mostly doing personal essays, travel, and food articles for magazines, along with the occasional piece of more serious journalism. I have a passion for good writing, and appreciate writers who are simple, clear, and funny. My model and mentor as a writer is William Zinsser, who wrote On Writing Well, along with a lot of other great books about writing. I recommend that if you are interested in writing you read his books.

I have a website (laurafraser.com) and a blog (laurafraser.com/notes), as well as a list of all the books I've read since I was 13 years old (laurafraser.com/list.html). I love having this list and suggest that if you're a reader, you create, one, too. Trust me, you'll be glad you did. It's never too late.

I divide my time between San Francisco and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (both 415 area codes, weirdly). I feel blessed to be able to read and travel and write and have so many wonderful friends around the world.

Customer Reviews

Life is beautiful, and each thing that happens to us, good or bad, makes our lives what they are.
Kathy Austin
Let me start with a caveat: I love food writing, and when done right, I also love self-exploratory memoir, and Laura Fraser makes a hearty meal of both in this book.
M. Gottlieb
The author paints beautiful word pictures of the exotic places she visits, but this book is much more than travel literature.
janet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By William Graham on June 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am an adventure traveler and an avid reader of travel literature--both contemporary and classic. "All Over the Map" is a worthy addition to the travel literature category. But Fraser provides added personal depth to her recollections of remote Pacific islands, Andes treks, and Mexican sojourns. Her travel itineraries are a jumping off point for her to recount tales of love and loss. This creates a work that is a flowing mix of insight and poignancy. Boiled down to its essence, "All Over the Map" is a deeply retold human tale of journeys--both geographical and metaphorical. I recommend the work to anyone who loves travel, another person and, indeed, life itself.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sophia Rose on June 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book offers rich slices of the excitement and boredom that are at the heart of extensive business travel. It also gives an honest and truthful look at the realities of the traveler's life. Good, bad, exhilarating, depressing, informative and vibrant and magical experiences are all here. I wouldn't call it light or fluffy. It is fascinating and insightful. Many readers will go where they have never been globally. Many will learn from and admire this emotionally honest portrayal. Once started, I had a hard time putting it down. I was sorry to see it end. (It has a great and very appropriate title, too.)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By janet on July 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. The author paints beautiful word pictures of the exotic places she visits, but this book is much more than travel literature. It is the personal story of a woman at mid-life who has accomplished so much and yet wonders if she has missed something along the way. She writes about seeking love and stability in her life. In spite of her insecurities, she takes advantage of every opportunity and is constantly trying new things, learning new skills, and taking risks. Her stories range from laugh out loud funny to poignant. She tells of being assaulted in Samoa, being given ayahuasca by a shaman in Peru, and of getting dumped by a boyfriend on her 45th birthday. Every woman can relate to situations in this book. This is a perfect book club read. It would also make a great gift for your sister or friend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bookventures Book Club on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit, I fell in love with this story from the get go. All Over the Map chronicles the life of Laura Fraser, a freelance writer and journalist who is trying to answer one of life's great questions; can a woman be independent and free spirited with a great career while at the same time establish and maintain a long lasting relationship? Her soul searching journey takes her to the four corners of the world and you'd be surprised with the answers that she finds.

All over the map reads like the sequel to The Italian Affair, Fraser's earlier work yet the book can easily stand on its own. There are many references to the latter story but this is only done to give the reader some perspective on where Fraser has come from. Some readers may also find this story a close resemblance to Eat Pray Love by Melissa Gilbert but my jury is still out on that matter.

The story offers something for everyone. It's devoted to those of us who wish we could "go there someday". The reader lives vicariously through Fraser who, with each new location, does a great job recreating the sights and smells of the place in vivid detail. If that wasn't enough to get your attention, foodies will be delighted to find out that their passion is given equal treatment. You can almost taste the meals as you read. Aside from the great locales, the story is a treasure trove of ideas, concepts and beliefs about life that is both relevant and pertinent to modern women.

Set up like a memoir, this story gives the reader a sense of being in the author's head. It's a great tactic for first person narration since in gaining the perspective of the author, you also begin to identify with her.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on June 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Related to so much of her book, from her feelings of intimidation while at Wesleyan and apprehension over going to her reunion as a single woman, to her swearing off online dating, to her trying out tango, to her cleaning out her apartment. Also, her travel stories are fascinating and insightful. Well done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fiction_lover718 on July 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was awesome. It is about a woman who is independent, assertive and a little neurotic. Has many good experiences in her life as well as bad ones. Yet she does not allow her bad experiences to change her life for good. She keeps moving on and allows herself to be happy with the way her life turned out in the end even though all the while she always wanted a little more this and that, which I think we can all relate to. She learns more and more about herself as she goes through life and realizes life is a journey not a destination. I would definitely recommend this book to those who like female independence, travel and experiencing new things, cultures, food, etc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brigette Lemos on August 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I first picked up this book, I thought, "Oh no, another 'Eat, Pray, Love'". It took me a couple of days to get past the first five pages because I was convinced it wasn't going to hold a candle to "EPL", but once I actually sat down to read it, I realized it was nothing like it. I loved the story and thought several time while reading it that this could have been my life had I not chosen to get married and become the old woman that lives in a shoe (with so many children, she didn't know what to do). I found myself living vicariously through the author and her many travels. Great summer or rainy day read.
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