The Promise - Lisa Clifford
I did read Eat Pray Love as I've mentioned several times already and I have wanted to travel to Italy for a really long time so when I saw this book on the shelf I thought, "What the heck, I'll borrow it."
It almost reads like an Italian version of Sarah Turnbull's Almost French. Here is yet another female journalist from Sydney who goes to Italy (this time) and meets a man...
The only difference is that Sarah is 27 when she goes to France, but Lisa is only 17 when she goes to Italy (Florence).
From the aspect of being a Sydneysider, the book was very easy to read. All the places, suburbs, and very Sydney 'things' she mentions throughout the book, I know exactly what she's talking about. I know where all the places are on a map and I know the typical Australian culture.
I do know some things about the Italian culture too as I had some Italian friends when I was in high school and I knew that most of them lived with their extended family all together in one big house. However, there were many things I was yet to learn, which I did through the help of this book.
Lisa is a likeable character and the book is easy enough to read. At the young and impressionable age of 17, and not having finished high school, she goes to Florence, which is her first time overseas without her parents.
Her mother is a celebrity in her own right, June Dally-Watkins of the famed modelling and etiquette school. Lisa neglects to mention this at the beginning of the book as she stresses she wanted to be her own person and was sick of being regarded simply as her mother's daughter.
The book is a look at Lisa's life over the next 18-20 years where she goes back and forth between Sydney and Florence, starting and stopping and starting her career, and being confused about her love for Paolo, and whether or not their relationship will ever work because she doesn't feel 100% at home in Florence, and he would never feel 100% home in Sydney (and their cultural differences, obviously!).
It's an interesting dilemma and I'm sure many couples of today face. I know quite a few couples like that where one has to give up everything they ever know (family, friends, familiarity and culture) to live overseas with their one true love. But at the end of it all I guess if you can conquer such a huge challenge, your relationship will more than likely last the test of time :)
Links (don't read if you don't want spoilers)
Lisa Clifford's official site
Lisa's Facebook and the first chapter of the book
Interview with Lisa on the Florentine
Photo of Lisa
Interview with Lisa, ABC radio