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Botticelli Blue Skies: An American in Florence
When writer Merrill Joan Gerber is invited to join her husband, a history professor, as he takes a class of American college students to study in Florence, Italy, she feels terrified at the idea of leaving her comforts, her friends, and her aged mother in California. Her husband tries to assure her that her fear of Italy—and her lack of knowledge of the Italian ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 24th 2002 by University of Wisconsin Press
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This is travel writing written by someone who apparently doesn't really like to travel nor does she travel well when she's there. I spent half the book being pretty annoyed with Gerber for being such an annoying American wimp and half the time begrudgingly admitting that, yes, living abroad is rough, no matter if you're in the most beautiful place in the world. Living abroad (although, let's admit it, she was only in Italy for three months... that's hardly living abroad, that's an extended ...more
I loved this book...I've read suggestions that Merrill Joan Gerber is a bit of boring whine in this book. After all, when given the opportunity to spend a semester in Florence who wouldn't jump at the chance? Merrill Joan Gerber apparently. So what is it that I appreciated about this book? As much as you may love another culture and country--even embrace its beauty--I could certainly relate to her daily struggles of trying to live in another country (and I speak the same language!) In my view, ...more
Another skim (in order to read a student's essay). This is the memoir of a middle-aged woman (her three daughters are grown; her mother is in a nursing home) who accompanies her college teacher husband on a semester of study in Florence. She's reluctant. She's timid. She has a lot of anxiety. The chapters are short and sometimes funny accounts of her (painfully) slow adjustment to a new place/country/culture. Maybe good for someone being "forced" to spend a semester in a new place. Not so good ...more
You wouldn't think a travelogue about Tuscany could be cringe-inducing, but you'd be wrong. This woman is the reason some of us claim Canadian citizenship while abroad. (they hang laundry out to dry in Tuscany?! with clothespins?! horrors!) The fanny pack alone is reason enough to avoid this one.
Prize-winning novelist and short story writer who has published seven novels — among them King Of The World, which won the Pushcart Press Editor's Book Award for an "important and unusual book of literary distinction," and The Kingdom of Brooklyn, winner of the Ribalow Award from Hadassah Magazine for "the best English-language book of fiction on a Jewish theme" — as well as five volumes of short ...moreMore about Merrill Joan Gerber...