Monday, January 17, 2011

Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

This is probably the first time someone has ever said this: I liked the movie more. I choose to read Under The Tuscan Sun because I thought the movie was adorable. I was hoping for more that adorableness but it wasn't there. But after I got over the story being a little different than the movie, I enjoyed Mayes story of buying a rundown house in Tuscany and repairing it.
But the house really isn't the true subject here; it's Tuscany, the food and the land. About midway through the book Mayes' story really picks up steam as she starts talking about the food in the restaurants, the local markets, even the food she grows on her land. I loved it when I could see Tuscany through her eyes. I loved hearing about how she got oil from olives she grew. It was very entrancing and I wanted to move to Tuscany with her. It felt very real.
Two small (spoiler-ish) gripes I had with Under The Tuscan Sun. She mentions Ed frequently. At the beginning she states she had divorced before purchasing Bramasole. She never clarifies who Ed is. I assumed he was her boyfriend but it bugged me that she said. Also Bramasole was her summer home. She fixed up the home during her summers and breaks from work. It was frequently hard for me to root for someone who has enough money to have a home in San Fransisco and in Tuscany. If you can more power to you, you're living the dream but I felt some of her complaints about owning both houses were whiny (often bordering on the edge of Gilbert-ish). The whininess didn't overwhelm the book just grated on my nerves every once and again. I'm really sorry if that sounds harsh. Perhaps since I saw the movie my expectation was that Mayes moved to Italy and left the US.
Recommended to travel lovers, those who love Italy (bonus recipes!) and those into home renovations. Other who shared their thoughts on Under The Tuscan Sun: S. Krishna's Books, Reading In A Single Sitting and Literary Soujourn.


  1. I enjoyed the book when I read it (probably 10 years ago), but have never seen the movie. I usually avoid movies of books I like, but it sounds like I'm missing out this time!

  2. it is really interesting when the movie improves on the book - so uncommon!

    ps. i LOVED the new star trek movie too! love love loved it!

  3. I think I enjoyed the movie, it was long ago.

    But fun to hear your thoughts on the book

  4. I loved the movie for this - but had heard that the book was really sloooooooowwww....

  5. I absolutely loved the movie so I'm taking your review to heart and will NOT bother to read it!!!

  6. "often bordering on the edge of Gilbert-ish". AH! Love it! I'm glad I'm not the only one who isn't head over heels for Elizabeth Gilbert. (and now I know to stay away from this book!)


Shiny! I love comments.