Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes

Cover ImageFinished 7-25-10, rating 3.5/5, travel memoir, pub. 1996

A guest  earlier in the summer was on one of those marathon seven countries in three weeks trips.  It’s tempting to mock that impulse but to me it’s extremely interesting when one chooses to power through that many miles.  First of all, it’s very American.  Just drive, please.  And far and quickly. 

Cortona, Noble City

In this Italian memoir Frances Mayes details her journey to Italy and buying and restoring a house there along with her significant other, Ed.  Both are professors in San Francisco, but travel to their new Italian home every chance they get to work on the restoration process.  It is more work than either were prepared for and they spent much of their time navigating the new idiosyncracies of their adopted country.

I love Italy.  I would love to buy a home in Italy.  And one day maybe I’ll convince Jason that it’s a necessity.  I liked the comparisons between our cultures and the descriptions of life in the village.  And I loved that she made her own olive oil.  There were also many yummy Italian recipes included.  Her sense of wanderlust was very appealing.

This is my first travel memoir and I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure it’s a genre that I will seek out.  The writing was full of details which was both good and bad.  I did not enjoy the minute detailing of every step of restoring their home or every meal they ate.  It moved a little too slowly for me.  This book took me months to finish because it was too easy to put down.  If this hadn’t been chosen for me by you there is a good chance I wouldn’t have finished it.

I love the movie and there were really only a few things that were similar to this book.  The movie did a wonderful job of showing the natural beauty of Italy as did this book.  If you love Italy and travel memoirs this is the book for you.  If you just loved the movie I think you could skip it.

This is from my personal library and was chosen for me by Jo Ann, GMR, Piroska, and Mystica.  Here’s what they had to say…

“Escape to Italy and enjoy!”  Jo Ann

“The movie was great and I’ve heard the book is even better.”  GMR

20 thoughts on “Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes

  1. Kay says:

    I was one of the ones that watched the movie, loved it, tried the book, set it down as too dry. I decided it was the movie only for me. 🙂

  2. Staci says:

    Sounds like an interesting read and I’ve checked it out once but never did get to it. The movie is one of my ultimate favorites, so maybe I’ll just stick with that.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      Yeah. I think if you really love the movie you might find the book a little slow. But I love Italy and that is the only thing that saved it for me.

  3. Margot says:

    I’m glad I read the book first. I really enjoyed it. When the movie came out I like what they did with it (much more humorous). So I liked the movie for different reasons.

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I liked some of it and some of it was just too slow for me. Maybe I’m just too impatient. Or maybe I expected more of a story, like the movie.

  4. jennygirl says:

    I recently bought this second hand because I never saw the movie and would like to read it first. Thanks for the warning about the slow moving reading. Good to know that upfront. Good review chicka!

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