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Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home Hardcover – October 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: GuidepostsBooks; 1St Edition edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824947800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824947804
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,279,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After nearly 20 years of marriage, the Pohlmans, in the final stages of divorce, decide to spend a year in Italy, a decision their "marital therapist called... an elaborate scheme of avoidance at best." The resulting story is full of charm, Kodak moments, and tumult typical of Americans abroad. In Italy, the family faces daily challenges, like unraveling the mysterious bus system ("...something left over from the days of Mussolini?") and dealing with the government. Even the simple act of purchasing groceries is an exercise in frustration. But eventually, Susan and Tim adapt, learning how to be spouses again, and even friends. The family perseveres, pulls together, sheds some of their American patina, and learns a new way of life in a country known for a commitment to family. Not many mothers can boast a midnight swim with a 14-year-old daughter or dropping plans to ice skate with their children simply because they wanted to. The Pohlmans' adventure is the stuff that dreams are made of.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

'Don't pass up the chance to read this remarkable story.' --Good Housekeeping

'Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home offers hope to readers who yearn to embrace a rich new beginning.' --Dallas Morning News

'Susan's memoir is candid, inspirational, and impossible to put down.' --Boulder Book Store

'In a voice genuine and likable, (Pohlman) writes about a year that really rocked her world, a year during which she turned a hard gaze on herself -- on her choices, her behaviors and her words -- in a way that sounds easy to do but isn't. Yet the narrative gains quiet power as the Pohlmans shed their reserve, venture out into different parts of Italy and then of wider Europe, and discover a new vitality in opening up to the world around them, and to each other.' --Bookslut.com

'Sometimes in your life you are confronted or presented with something that will forever change your view, your outlook, your life. Books and movies are likely places this can happen. I was presented with such a book just a month ago and it has forever changed the way I look at myself, my marriage, and my life.' --Real Women Scrap

'This is the best book I have read in a long time. In her debut book, Halfway to Each Other, Pohlman brings it home. Susan captures the heart of everyone who has struggled with marriage, relationships and the deepest questions of their souls. Our family doesn't have to move to a foreign land to find each other though, we can apply Pohlman's inspirational principles to our own lives, right here in Scottsdale, Arizona.' --Krellfish

'What I love about Halfway to Each Other is its ability to keep me laughing and on the verge of tears in alternating sections throughout the book.' --Basil and Spice


More About the Author

Hi, I'm Susan Pohlman and I am a freelance writer living in Arizona.

My essays have been published in The Washington Times, Family Digest, The Family, Raising Arizona Kids, Guideposts Magazine, Homelife Magazine, AZ Parenting and Italiannotebook.com.

Though I have written a number of short films, Halfway to Each Other is my first book. It is the winner of the relationships category in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and has been shortlisted for the new, 2010 Inspy Awards.

Thanks for stopping by!

Customer Reviews

Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us!
Jean Collier
I enjoyed Susan's engaging writing style, which allowed me to share her journey through a crisis in her marriage and her family's sabbatical in Italy.
K. Young
A very inspiring book, makes you take a step back and evaluate life, relationships, love, and family.
Debby Kline

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By D. Gilligan on August 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is about faith, love and the struggles a family endures to really be together... The courageous decision Susan and Tim made when they felt they were at the end of their marriage was stunning! The honesty, humor, and deep reflection shown in her writing made me wish to know this woman better. One favorite part was when they get off a train at the wrong station in Italy with their fourteen red suitcases. I laughed out loud!

It makes me long to grab my family and run away to Europe. Read it, you will love it!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. G. Gagliano VINE VOICE on August 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a true story about Susan and her 6'5" husband Jim who were on the brink of separation. Susan has felt empty, lonely and disillusioned for years. Just as she is about to break the news to her husband on the last day of a business trip in Italy, he says that he thinks
it would be amazing to live there.

Two months later their, house is sold, their belongings are in storage and they are heading to Italy.

They lease an apartment, find the kids a school, learn to speak Italian, make friends immediately and find out that sometimes less is more.

Susan and her husband notice the changes in the children quickly. With no TV, radio, cell phones, computers and friends, the start looking for each other to talk, play cards and play together. Susan and her husband, spend their days, cooking, shopping, playing and riding a Vespa around Italy.

Susan's new friend's show them that just being, singing with abandon, dancing, sharing a glass of wine and spending time together are what matters. She starts to look at what really matters, Tim, and her two children. She finds out that living the unexpected life in Italy was like "finding the fountain of youth."

I highly recommend this book. Most marriages suffer after years. We feel unfulfilled, unloved, unmotivated, uninspired and we blame the person we are with. Susan took the opportunity to realize that she was blaming her husband Tim for this "lost part of her soul." We all feel lost at times; Husbands, wives, kids all of us. It isn't the fault of the person we are with, it is how we process what is around us or how we let our surroundings affect us.

Susan says that at the end of our lives we will be asked to answer two questions. Did we live fully? Did I love well?
Read more ›
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By L.A. in CA on September 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book has all the makings of a tv "reality" show. Take a blonde, Los Angeles soccer mom, her 2 children and her "highly successful" husband and suddenly place them in a small Italian town to fend for themselves for a year.

Well, almost. In truth, the author and her husband had been to Italy before. They hosted a 6-day business trip in Florence and Portofino for about 40 of the husband's clients. Evidently the couple never rode a bus while there, or shopped in a grocery store, or learned more than a handful of Italian words. Because when they actually moved to Italy, they had no clue. Their naivete was astonishing. For example, they were surprised, on a visit to the local grocery store, that it did not carry things like Oreos, Cheetos, Chef Boyardee, and Fruit Roll-Ups. When invited to a dinner party, and served tongue (lingua), the husband asks, "What kind of animal is a lingua?" Though trying their best, they often came off (at least in the beginning) as culturally insensitive, sometimes bordering on "ugly American". If nothing else, this book could serve as a cautionary tale of how NOT to set up house in another country without doing your homework first.

Be aware, also, that this is an "inspirational" book - meaning that the author has chosen to quote Gospel verse throughout.

Yet having said all this, I read this book through to the end. And I actually enjoyed it. This family had a lot of guts. The author was always up-front and honest about her family's difficulties adjusting to life abroad, and about her relationship with her husband. They were good natured, open to new adventures, and often funny. You couldn't help but wish them well.

Equally irritating and charming - a worthy first effort by this author.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Young on November 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved every page of Halfway to Each Other. I enjoyed Susan's engaging writing style, which allowed me to share her journey through a crisis in her marriage and her family's sabbatical in Italy. The entry she wrote about seeing her grandmother in a field of flowers--flowers which reminded her of her grandmother's favorite hat--really spoke to me and brought back memories of my beloved *MeeMaw.* Such lovely and insightful writing.

The test of a really really good book is that it's one you're eager to share with others. To date, I've given the book to three family members and have it on my gift list to give to friends this Christmas. I was lucky enough to have happened across this jewel and look forward to sharing it with others this holiday season. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your journey.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sue Ellen Allen on November 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a a beautifully written, honest book about one family and two simultaneous journeys. The first is the obvious one. Let's go live in Italy for a year. Naive? Yes. Brave? Absolutely. Kudos for the effort and honesty about their cultural stumbling. On this journey, they fulfilled many people's "if only..." dreams.

The second journey is the more delicate, subtle, and difficult; it's a journey of self-discovery that most people are terrified to take. This journey takes great courage to pack for and even more courage to write about. Who wants to write about those stupid little fights that every marriage experiences? No one wants to even remember them because no one ever comes out looking patient, kind, wise, or even adult. Susan writes with brave heart and pen to share and, yes, inspire others whom she knows are making the same stumbling mistakes, just in Iowa instead of Italy.

It does take a brave and open heart to move your entire family to a foreign land, especially a family with teenagers. However, I know from personal experience that Susan and Tim gave their children a priceless gift. They saved their marriage and allowed their children to become members of the international community of the world. Not bad for one brief year. Susan, I applaud you and thank you for sharing both of these unmatched and unique journeys. I hope many readers choose to be both entertained, educated and inspired by your story. And maybe some will decide to move to far away lands. It's a big world and worth the effort.

This is a delightful and worthwhile read.
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