Goodreads Review: Under the Tuscan Sun

I did finish Under the Tuscan Sun!

My goal had been to do so before the week was over :)

Here is the short review I wrote for Goodreads:

Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in ItalyUnder the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Before finishing this book, I’d queued up a posting for my blog, Talking Story, about how books can come to you more than just once, and that there is at least a twice: One you decide to buy — what were the reasons? And two, you finally read it completely at the time you were probably supposed to. It’s this divine providence that books seem to have; they just do. Such was the case for me with this book, feeling I’d read it now at the right time, for I’ve had several false starts with it. I’ve loved it for sense of place reasons, for as lyrical and descriptive as her writing is, I’ve no desire to buy more of what Mayes has written; she’s already satisfied me with this one. I skimmed over the recipes she shares, occasionally more interested in whatever short story she offered as recipe preface, and I’m positive I’ll never try them out myself, but still, this book did feed me in another way.

Mayes writes, causing me to find a kindred spirit:

Growing up, I absorbed the Southern obsession with place, and place can seem to be somehow an extension of the self. If I am made of red clay and black river water and white sand and moss, that seems natural to me.

Sense of place is a compelling concept for me (evoking the Hawaiian value of Nānā i ke kumu in Managing with Aloha) and in this book we are witness to how Mayes’ sense of place spans and weaves together her living in the south (mostly Georgia), her working in San Francisco, and this central story, of her connection to Tuscany in Italy. In the beginning, she introduces the story as her chance to a second life of sorts, and isn’t that something we all dream of?

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