I didn't particularly like this book.
Yes, it is well written and easy-to-read; it can also be quite useful for non-native English speakers to learn words related to plants, food and construction. I felt, however, that it lacked a real narrative arch - other than the whole process of searching, buying, renovating and eventually living the house. Plus, as an Italian myself, I found it often to be stereotypical with a bunch of clichés (at times even somehow disrespectful and rude towards Italian culture).
It was hard to stay interested. The beginning was good then became dry.
Frances Mayes – widely published poet, gourmet cook and travel writer – opens the door on a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There are snippets of poetry, linguistics, Etruscan and Roman history, cookery and personal experience ranging from hard work to the joy of living in this beautiful part of the world. Hard going at times but generally good reading....Continua
ISBN 0767900383 - As a fan of lists, I'm always curious about books that make bestseller lists. I rarely read them, but I'm always curious. This was the case with Under the Tuscan Sun until a rather beat-up, unsellable copy fell into my hands. My curiosity, but little else, has been satisfied.
A recap of the plotline is usually the second paragraph for me. The trouble here is that this book doesn't actually have a plotline. The author and her boyfriend bought a house in Tuscany, living there during the summer and restore it and the land around it. Seriously, that's it: no actual point, no build up, not a character to root for (although there were moments I admit to rooting for the house to fall down on them, just to liven things up). So much for the recap!
Beautifully written, Under the Tuscan Sun isn't without redeeming qualities. Tuscany sounds like a bit of Heaven on Earth and Mayes, reputed to be a good cook, turns out to be a decent writer, at least so far as descriptive writing goes. A few short sections are even well-done humor. For that, the richness of language, the way you can nearly smell the food and hear the quiet of the countryside, for that, Mayes gets 5 stars. For boring me nearly to death, ZERO stars! An average of 3 stars seems a reasonable compromise. There are definitely readers for this type of book, I just happen to not be one of them. If you're looking for a relaxing read, this one certainly fits your needs; if you want a storyline, something more exciting than recipes, this book is a snore - if your blood flowed to the rhythm of this book, you'd be dead.
This book started out very good, but about half way through, it started reading like a book of poetry. I am not a huge fan of most poetry (I like some), so I found the book difficult to read at that point. I would give it 2.5 stars, but because that isn't an option, I gave it 2 stars....Continua