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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Biography Review - Girl By Sea: Life, love and food on an Italian island

Author: Penelope Green
Review date: January 2010

Well, it's been a while since I've done a review. It just takes me a long time these days to get through a whole book, what with everything else on my plate! I actually finished this latest book during our holiday in Port Macquarie just before Christmas.

This is the third book of Green's that I have read, the first two being When In Rome and See Naples and Die (click on the book titles to see their reviews). In this, the third book of the trilogy, Green and her boyfriend, Alfonso (whom she met in Naples, detailed in her second book) move to an island off the coast of Naples: Procida.

Green, who becomes unemployed not long after her arrival on the small island, uses the time she has to explore the island and research its history and people through her conversations and/or friendships with the locals. (Although, being a very tight community, she sometimes struggles to fit in.) She also learns how to cook; befriending an older couple whom she visits often for both cooking tips and conversation.

I guess Girl By Sea is not so much a biography than it is a sort of travel guide of sorts. In fact, I found Green's See Naples and Die written in the same vein: an exploration of Green's surroundings and her written conclusions of what each place means to her and to the people with which she shares her new home.

I'll be honest. I was 100 pages in before I really started to get in to this book. I don't think that's a reflection on Green's writing, so much that the book wasn't the right choice for me. (In fact, it was her first book, When In Rome, that resonated with me the most - being a more personal account of her life, together with her experiences of living in a foreign city.)

One thing I love about this book though, is the inclusion of yummy local Procidan recipes at the end of each chapter. Hubby is a fan of rabbit (if it was available, he almost always ordered it from the dinner menu when we travelled through Italy with our two big boys back in 2005) so I might just be tempted to cook the Coniglio Alla Procidana (Rabbit Procidan-Style) some time!

My rating out of 5:


Thea Smith said...

Reading actual books is something I do not do nearly enough of these days!! I do love it though and now that I have my glasses & it was a New Year's Resolution I think I might look out for 'When In Rome'. My husband and I loved Rome, we were there in 2002/2003 for our European Honeymoon.

Michelle said...

I might look out for these books - I havent' travelled yet - so I love when books take me places.