Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: "Head over Heel"

Apparently this photo captures part of the main town the author wrote about, Andrano.

I finished the book "Head over Heel, Seduced by Southern Italy" by Chris Harrison last night (which is perfect because "The Joy of Less" finally arrived today!).

Italy travel narrative seems to get better and better, and that's the case here. I love the author for falling madly in love with an Italian woman, he adored her... and followed her to Italy, backward Southern Italy on the heel of the boot at that. Of course he fell for Italy as well. So I think the word "seduced" in the title is perfect. On every single page he humorously illustrates how living (and not just visiting) in this area is "frustrating yet fun." It's certainly a package deal, taking the (really) good with the (really) bad. He also thoroughly explained how he's a foreigner both at home and abroad. (Whatever home is to him, this book only covered two years in Italy, he probably left.) On one of the last pages, he goes further to say that living in two places created two different identities, two different people that "probably wouldn't have gotten along" (312). I've always loved travel narrative for putting things/ feelings about travel/ living abroad into elegant and perfect words that I just couldn't articulate.

I wonder if I could live long-term in Italy... and even with the sublime pleasures of this country, handle all those frustrations with humor!

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