Tuesday, January 26, 2016

When in Rome by Amabile Giusti

If you enjoyed the Bridget Jones books and the TV series Sex and the City, you may enjoy this book.  It's a translation of a chick-lit book from Italy, set in Rome, with all Italian characters.

The couple in this book, Carlotta and Luca, do so many unforgivably hurtful things to each other, that when they finally came together as a couple (that's not a spoiler since all these books end that way) I grimaced rather than grinned.

By the way, Luca is the guy, not a woman, despite the "a" ending.  It was an unfortunate Italian male name choice for non-Italian speaking readers.

I have to confess that this is not my favorite genre.  When I read this line a few pages into the book:
"Maybe I would be better off if I threw him out."
I yelled aloud:  "Yes!  You would be!!  Do it now!!!"

So you can imagine, I was not really rooting for these two ding-dongs.  They then went on to explore dangerous sexual games, various forms of self-destructive behavior, and other ridiculous and unhealthy things.

I do wonder why the publisher thought the expense, time and effort needed to translate the book was necessary.   While it may have been unique in Italy, there are many, many of these books written in English:  first-person, present-tense narratives about emotionally immature, slothful, self-absorbed, neurotic, thirty-something women who want a hot guy, a great job, and respect from their friends and family.

Perhaps the translation removed much of the Italian flavor, because there is very little, or perhaps it was never there to begin with.  The author emulated an English-language genre, including the rather generic settings and characters.

Just two last notes:  there are vulgarities and sexual situations, and the title in English has nothing to do with the story.  The book is set mainly, nominally, in Rome, but the expression "When in Rome, do as the Romans" does not apply to this story.

But again, if you enjoyed the Bridget Jones books and the TV series Sex and the City, you may enjoy this book.  It is for real chick-lit fans.

From the book's description:
As her thirtieth birthday approaches, spirited and unconventional Carlotta is a little nervous.  She’s just been fired because of her irrepressible frankness, her family is a mess, and her love life is nonexistent.  Plus, living in Rome isn’t cheap, so she’s forced to rent out a room in her apartment to make ends meet.

Her new roommate, Luca, a gorgeous writer who can match her wicked sense of humor, has a lot of cons:  he’s sloppy, he smokes too much, and he has a nasty habit of bringing home a different woman every night.

Carlotta doesn’t want to admit it, but she’s beginning to fall for the charming novelist whose bedroom seems to have a revolving door.  After they share an unexpected kiss, she’ll do anything to suppress her passion and protect her heart.

With her crazy relatives and a new job to deal with, can she muster the courage to confess her true feelings?  And will Carlotta find happiness in this rented romance?

Here is a direct link to the book at Amazon.com:

If you'd like to read the book in Italian, here is the cover and a link to Trent'anni...e li domostro (She's Thirty... and It Shows) at Amazon.

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