I’ll admit that I watched the movie before I read the book. I absolutely adored the movie. It is one of my favourites. I really wanted to read the book and this past summer I found a copy in a used bookstore.
I was under the impression that they would be similar but other than the name of the Tuscan villa and the fact that she is a writer, the details are quite distinct. Frances Mayes is a professor at a university in California and during her sabbatical or summer vacation buys a villa with her husband (?) Ed. Now I am not sure if this is her second husband like the character Ed was in the movie, those details were unclear and I was confused for the entire book as to what their relationship actually was. I think that because I had watched the movie first I kept wondering if France’s romantic life was changed for the flow of the movie or if she just didn’t write that detail in her book.
Frances Mayes has a very poetic way of writing (which is displayed by her character in the movie) and I was really impressed and pulled into the details. The book is filled with descriptions that help you visualize life in Italy, and the construction of their villa. The book is also filled with recipes which I thought was really cool and hope to try out someday.
It took me a long time to get through, just because I did not find it as interesting or as fast-paced as the movie was. Of course the book can’t be a fast-paced account of her life as it was written over several summers and is a memoir. I enjoyed reading it but at the same time I found myself being like ok you need to keep reading and just finish it.
While I could try and describe this strange feeling I think I will keep this a short review and just say that while I enjoyed reading it and it was filled with really nice descriptions, it is not a book I plan on picking up again. In this case I preferred the movie, which I think I still would have like more even if I had read the book first.
Let me know if you have read this book and what you think about it? Have you seen the movie?