Book Review: At Least You’re in Tuscany by Jennifer Crisewell

At Least You're in Tuscany by Jennifer Crisewell
At Least You’re in Tuscany by Jennifer Crisewell

Title: At Least You’re In Tuscany: A Somewhat Disastrous Quest for the Sweet Life

Author: Jennifer Crisewell

Genre: Travelogue, Tuscany, Italy

Publisher: Gemelli Press LLC (and courtesy of NetGalley) 

Published: October 23, 2012

Page Amount: 206 pages

Blurb From Goodreads: When dream meets reality. . . 

Endless fields of flame-like poppies. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The sweet, rhythmic chime of church bells.

Months upon months of unemployment? Struggling to communicate with locals? Duvets frozen on the clothesline?

Jennifer Criswell’s move from New York City to Tuscany was not supposed to go like this. She had envisioned lazy mornings sipping espresso while penning a best-selling novel and jovial group dinners, just like in the movies and books about expatriate life in Italy.

Then she met reality: no work, constant struggles with Italian bureaucracy to claim citizenship through her ancestors, and perhaps worst of all, becoming the talk of the town after her torrid affair with a local fruit vendor.

At Least You’re in Tuscany is the intimate, honest, and often hilarious tale of Jennifer’s first year in Montepulciano. During that time, Jennifer’s internal optimist was forced to work overtime, reminding her that if she were going to be homeless, lonely, and broke, at least she would be all those things–in Tuscany.

Through all her small-town bumblings, though, Jennifer’s mantra, along with a healthy dose of enthusiasm and willingness to learn about Italian culture, helped her not only build a new, rewarding life in Italy but also find herself along the way. 

Why Read: I’m a fan of travelogues. Enough said. If you know me, you know my tastes in books are extremely wide ranging but at the end of the day: travelogues will always be some of my favorites. Also.. Netgalley. 

Review: Every once in a while, a book comes along and makes me smile without smiling, and look at myself. I didn’t think it would be this one. In fact, as the book started, I expected the opposite. I had just returned from Italy, and was not maybe in the right mood to read a travelogue about a place I was returning wrong. Thankfully, I was wrong.

There’s nothing better than an authentic book. Not only the literary fictions and Fitzgeralds of the bunch, but the ones where you hear the voice of the author and understand them as a person, and not as a storyteller. This book does that.

Jennifer, or Jenny as she calls herself in the book, is one of those crazy travelers who does what we all dream of. She moves to Europe, in the Tuscany region to be precise. What follows is a not-so-glamorous account of what can go wrong (and right!) when you risk it all. I found it was full of smiles, happiness and also some horrors.

But it really reminded me that if you want to make something work, it’s all up to you. Jenny had help, of course, from her family, friend support group and new acquaintances in Italy. At the end of the day though: it was all her. I couldn’t imagine a better heroine to face the terrors of mold, frozen bedsheets and the hair-pulling stresses of finding a job.

And I certainly will be looking for a job before I move outside of the country!

Rating: 4.7/5 Stars

Review Coming Soon: The Pleasure of Memory by Welcome Cole

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