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All Over the Map Hardcover – June 1, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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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.

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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307450635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307450630
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,757,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book stands well on it's own as a travel / memoir but it is best read and understood once you've read Fraser's "An Italian Affair" because the Professor is still the most compelling human character.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I adored this book, and I think Laura Fraser and I will be BFFs when we meet--which is bound to happen one day! Seriously, though, I enjoyed the connections between our lives and our aesthetics. I also loved her sense of la vida bella, even in the midst of struggling with some difficult things that happened to her.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I gave this book 3 stars because I think future readers should not choose this book in anticipation of another "An Italian Affair". I did and I was quite disappointed after reading the first few chapters or so. Unlike her previous book, miss Fraser almost focused entirely on her own internal struggle, her race against her own clock, her effort to overcome her midlife crisis, wherever she visited, and thus in my opinion failed to capture the readers' interest with her travel. I found myself racing through the pages many times to fast forward to her next trip.

On the other hand, this book was quite easy to read. It was honest, unpretentious, and quite revealing. In fact, it may be a bit too honest and revealing for a male reader such as myself. (Perhaps the female readers would think otherwise.) However, I must say that her writing in this book is much more eloquent and profound comparing to "An Italian Affair".

To borrow Lillian Hellman's words, I think miss Fraser "left too much of [her] unfinished because [she] wasted too much time" looking for someone to make her life complete. The last chapter however was very poignant and in my personal opinion brought some closure to miss Fraser. At least that was how I felt at the end.

I finished reading "All Over The Map" despite many times I wondered if I had chosen the wrong book. In the end, I did like the book for what it was. It just was not what I had looked for in the beginning.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Laura Fraser travels for a living, and the high personal cost of all that glamorous flitting around the globe becomes evident when she turns 40. Her off again on again romance with The Professore has come to an end when he finds another woman to settle down with and Laura uses this as an opportunity to reflect on her past and navigate her future.

All Over the Map is a delight though some of the chapters are painful to read. The life of a travel writer is fraught with peril as well as pasta. When confronted with her own vulnerability, Laura must overcome her impulse to retreat into safety. It's an honest and not always flattering self portrait; the reader feels the awkwardness and insecurity of a woman reinventing herself in midlife.

Eventually Laura realizes that she's responsible for making her own home; home is not defined by a husband or children. Though the process isn't easy or effortless, it's often funny and always interesting. All Over the Map is a triumphant story and a much more satisfying one than EPL.
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