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The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian Paperback – March 23, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Nothing seemed to get done without food being involved either. Lots of food.
Another reason this book works is as a travel book. You will learn things here about Italy that you will never find in a Rick Steves' tourbook.
And finally, this book works because it is wickedly funny. An enjoyable read.
Doran's reluctant Tuscan odyssey begins with a phone call from his wife, Nancy, an artist who travels frequently to Italy. "I bought a house," she tells him as he sits in his office in their home in Los Angeles. A television scriptwriter, Doran has no intention of leaving Hollywood behind for life in the rural Italian village of Cambione. But he's no match for Nancy, who is determined to save her husband from his high-stress, workaholic lifestyle. In his fifties, he's viewed by the entertainment industry as "a relic from another age," yet he can't seem to let go of the job that has defined him for twenty-five years.
Doran heads to Tuscany where he finds more drama than anything he could have conjured up for the screen. The 300-year-old farmhouse he now owns is ramshackle at best, a true fixer-upper that needs extensive structural work and has neither an address nor a road leading to it. The previous owners have decided they want to reclaim the house, and they try all manner of ways to get the Dorans to sell it back, including fixing them with the "evil eye." And the whole town, it seems, knows about their plight and has an opinion to offer. Finally, after navigating endless layers of bureaucratic red tape, renovations on the house finally begin --- bringing with it a whole new set of challenges.
Part memoir and part travel narrative, THE RELUCTANT TUSCAN is about a quest to restore a house. But it's also about Doran's journey to restore his life and reconnect in his marriage.Read more ›
His style is a sort of Erma Bombeck meets Woody Allen although there is an underlying love story between a husband and wife struggling to survive the pressures of a Hollywood marriage. We (you) feel as though we are eavesdropping on Phil's thoughts as he relates with total candor the absurdities of living as a cultural misfit in a country he both loves and hates. But there is a sweet side to Phil underneath the cynicism that gives this book an authenticity devoid of contrivance.
Quite simply this is one very funny book and a rare gift for the summer reader.
At least, that's what Mr. Doran wants to you think. There were some amusing bits but none that made me laugh out loud. Stereotypes and caricatures of Italians abound and there are multiple references to the Germans and WWII. Maybe it's a generational thing, but I found these annoying. He does sometimes manage to write in a natural voice that is amusing and inviting and those passages are very nice. Unfortunately they were few and far betweeen. He also has a bad habit of throwing in little asides and quips that obviously call for a laugh-track. I found these drew me out of the narrative and only served to reinforce the idea that Mr. Doran is highly invested in his identity as a sitcom writer.
Late in the book, Mr. Doran makes the comment that in Hollywood, one is constantly auditioning. And I realized that's what he was doing throughout the book - auditioning. Auditioning for the reader's approval, for the reader's laughter, anxiously hoping for a reaction of some kind. Which is a shame as I think he may be a good writer, but he seems to not be able to trust his own writing to speak to the reader. Maybe living in Tuscany will help with that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I lived in Italy for 2 1/2 years and Phil Doran has done the best job of depicting life in this crazy, fun country. I laughed all the way through it.Published 2 months ago by Karyn C.
This book was hilarious. I read it while I was in Tuscany and it was the perfect compliment to our daily adventures.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
There are beach reads, and there are Italian reads. I'm into Italian vacations.Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
Very entertaining, a fun & very interesting
Story. We both loved it. Robert
This book was a wonderful read. Funny, poignant, and full of the author's frustrations and joys. I highly recommend to anyone who has a sense of humor.Published 9 months ago by Nancy
A wonderfully entertaining book that explores the adventure to moving to another country through the authors expertise in writing with humor. Read morePublished 15 months ago by James D. Perkins
A laugh- out- loud book!
Having spent time in Tuscany with my family, we lived the warmth and idiosyncrasies of the local people. Read more