Monday, April 1, 2013

Review - Summers in Supino: Becoming Italian by Maria Coletta McLean

Due out today, just in time for spring and getting ready for summer reading.  This surprising memoir brings much more than travel, food, and scenery.  I expected it would be about another American couple who decided to go back to the old country and how they dealt with the language and culture differences and the difficulties they occasioned.  Instead, I got a warm, loving, bittersweet story of a Canadian couple returning to an Italian  home they've had for years, and the growing affection they felt for the village and its people: an affection that was obviously reciprocated.

Maria Coletta McLean's father came to Canada from the village of Supino.  When she married Bob McLean, she and her Italian family embarked on a mission to help Bob become Italian.  Later, she and Bob purchased a small home in Supino to take her father home again before he died.  Her earlier book " My Father Came from Italy" published in 2011, gives the backfill.  However, I didn't feel I needed to read the earlier one to enjoy this one.

The heart-warming stories of how the Canadians (the becoming Italians) learn the pace of life in this tiny village, how to deal with electric companies, narrow streets, bathrooms that are only accessible by going outside and then coming in another door, village shopping, festas, and an entire cast of lovable, eccentric (to our eyes) characters who guide them on the journey of acculturation. Each summer, they stay a little longer, and each year the pull of staying permanently grows stronger.  Bob, who runs a coffee roasting business in Toronto, finally decides he wants to open a coffee shop in the village.

When they return to Toronto to begin preparations for this momentous step, the story takes an unexpected and heart-stopping twist.  Maria Coletta McLean's beautiful tribute to her husband, her family (both Canadian and Italian) is much more than a summer read.  It's a memoir of love, loss and comfort.  A definite cut above the average travel diaglogue.And  I'm definitely going to go read the first one.

Many thanks to ECW Press for making the galley available for review.

Title: Summers in Supino
Author: Maria Coletta McLean
Publisher: ECW Press
Genre: Memoir
Subject: intercultural living
Setting: Supino Italy
Source: E-book ARC from publisher via Net Galley
Why did I read this book now?  My father was Italian....what more do I need to say?


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