Finding Rome on the Map of Love: Book Review #2
January 2, 2013 by orvietoorbust
Shortly after arriving in Italy, I accepted an invitation to a book signing and reading event in Rome. When I learned of the book’s subject matter (a thirty-something woman who finds love with an Italian and moves to Rome) I thought, “Oh, no, not another fairy tale about coming to Italy, having an affair with Marcello Mastroianni and living happily ever after!” Needless to say I was skeptical. Seriously, is there anyone out there who could bring freshness to this tired and overly-saturated genre of storybook fantasies alla Three Coins in a Fountain, Under the Tuscan Sun and Eat, Pray, Love? I know I sound jaded – my expectations were low.
After a brief introduction, author Estelle Jobson sat down on a cushion in the courtyard of The Beehive Hotel, opened her book, Finding Rome on the Map of Love, and began to read. As I listened to her recount the stories, I noticed the corners of my mouth began to spontaneously turn upward. Her elegant and proper South African accent was in sharp contrast to the wry, sardonic, and sassy repartee. Hey, this girl gets it! When she finished I was a bit sad, but fortunately I’d purchased my very own autographed copy of the book and immediately cracked it open on the train back to Orvieto.
During the first couple of chapters, I was gulping down Estelle’s pages the way a typical American might eat their dinner – swallowing without taking time to taste. Perhaps I’ve been in Italy long enough that a voice in my head warned, “Don’t be in a hurry – savor each flavor and texture”. This book was just like a good Italian meal – I never wanted the literary feast to end, but when it did I felt warm and utterly satisfied.
Estelle Jobson is a talented writer who has a true gift for observation; describing things as an expatriate I’d experienced but was never able to fully articulate. I think what I appreciated the most about Estelle’s storytelling is that she doesn’t laugh at Italians, she laughs with them. Her book is filled with intelligent humor, compassion, and edgy insight. She is sarcastic without being mean; clever without being pretentious; and emotional without being too sentimental. Estelle sees Italians the way they really are and reconfirms, at least for me, why I love living among them.
I’ll stay with the food analogy for just a little bit longer to say that I really enjoyed chewing slowly on every single delicious “bite” of Finding Rome on the Map of Love – her words were proprio buonissime!
Enjoying my copy…
…in front of the…
…Duomo di Orvieto.
Find her and her book on Facebook