Saturday, July 20, 2013

Book Review

Marcus of Umbria- What an Italian dog taught an American girl about love: Justine Van Deur Leun.

The title of this book caught my eye whilst strolling the isles of the library, firstly because I am a huge animal lover, and secondly because the title intrigued me. This, I thought to myself, sounded like a love story which was the furthest thing from being cliché; and I am all over non-cliché love stories! A non-fiction prose, this novel tells the story of the author Justine Van Deur Leun who makes the impulsive decision to move to a tiny Italian rural town, and the cultural clashes that consequently happen along the way. Leaving the New York world behind, her stable but unrewarding job, and her modern man, she heads off to what can only be described as a far cry from modern life. Though she moves over to Italy with the intention of pursuing a relationship with an Italian lover (a gardener, and a true country man), the novel doesn't focus on their relationship. Instead, we learn as much as Emanuele as we do his mother, brother, and father. I loved this book as I felt truly transported to the Italian world of family, food, and a matter-of-fact way of living. Van Deur Leun presents the culture with honesty and conviction, depicting the love and warmth of the Italian lifestyle, without shying away from the less humorous cultural clashes, such as animal cruelty. Van Deur Leun is not telling an 'Eat, Pray, Love' style story of fitting seamlessly into a new culture, and consequently finding yourself. Van Deur Leun is instead an outsider, and her struggle is openly and honestly portrayed in a refreshingly truthful way. Unsure where she belongs, and where she should go, she finds love and a sense of belonging in a very different place... in Marcus the pointer.

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