May 22, 2014

My Home Sweet Rome by Sari Gilbert

I am an armchair traveler.  So I do my traveling through books from people who either live in or have visited all the places I want to go.  Enter Rome.  A city with a lot of history, art, and delicious food, it's definitely a stop for most travelers.  But Gilbert takes it a little further.  She lives in Rome, and has done so for decades, giving her an experience that most have not had.

While in college, Gilbert moved to Rome to continue her schooling and then pursue a career in journalism.  Fond of Rome and the opportunities it offered to her, she stayed and worked for several newspapers and as a freelance journalist.  This offered her the chance to talk to many important people, cover interesting stories, and just appreciate all that Rome had to share.  In this book she also talks about Roman/Italian lifestyles, history, government and a myriad of other topics. 

Gilbert is a very honest narrator.  She doesn't hold back on any topics, including those of her own personal life.  Which can be disconcerting at times.  She's also very honest about the people she meets and has relationships with.  I actually wondered at times if she had changed people's names as to avoid getting them angry, because she is brutally honest.  But it offers a very clear look at Italy and some of its people and their habits.  And Gilbert knows a lot of people because of the line of work she is in, so it's just not neighbors and friends, but also politicians and some celebrities that she writes about in this book.

I can honestly say that I enjoyed most of this book.  I found the information on the politics, history, lifestyle and many other topics fascinating.  What I didn't find so fascinating was the amount of detail given to her romantic exploits.  While some was useful for seeing how Roman lifestyles worked, others were just a bit gratuitous and detracted from the book as a whole.  But, since I could just skim past those sections it didn't bother me too bad.  She does put a lot of detail in and I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the food.  It made me want to just make a plate of pasta and find a good hunk of cheese to gobble down.  Maybe a glass of wine too.  And now I'm hungry.  Some time is given to the landscape and scenery of Italy and Rome too, although I would have definitely enjoyed hearing more about it as I'm sure the same level of detail would have been given in the writing.

Definitely an interesting book on living in Rome.  It offered a unique perspective from someone who's been living a Roman life for awhile and isn't afraid to tell it how it is.

**This book was received as a free advanced reader's copy**

My Home Sweet Rome
Copyright 2013
328 pages

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