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An Italian Education

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  957 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Tim Parks' first bestseller, "Italian Neighbors," chronicled his initiation into Italian society and cultural life. Reviewers everywhere hailed it as a bravissimo performance. Now he turns to his children -- born and bred in Italy -- and their milieu in a small village near Verona. With the splendid eye for detail, character, and intrigue that has brought him acclaim as a ...more
Paperback, 338 pages
Published December 2nd 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,681)
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Feb 06, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing
Italian lullabies, like "Ninna Nonna, Ninna O / Questo bimbo, a chi lo do?" Nap my gramma, nap OH, This baby, to whom shall I give? Or Italian recipes, rather imaginative ones (111). Wonderful on Italian contradictions: the assumption that all workers are shiftless, whereas all thieves are most efficient, competent. Then, public speaking, always read off cards or prompters: no merit here to speaking or thinking on one's feet. However great Italians perform in private, they plod in public. Proudl ...more
Aug 02, 2016 Aloke rated it really liked it
When Parks is at his best you'll be truly whisked into his hot, hilarious, frustrating, delicious, lost in translation Italian world. Following on from his Italian Neighbors, here he covers parenthood as he and his wife raise two kids, Michele and Stefi, in a town near Verona.

As in the previous book we get lots of sketches of village life, flora, fauna and other characters like his new neighbors, the insurance salesman and his in-laws. There's also a fair amount of pointing out Italian foibles
June Seghni
Apr 28, 2012 June Seghni rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but will say two things...I had already read the author's previous book, Italian which he and his italian wife buy a flat in a village, and come up against/ make friends with a cast of characters who I instantly I fell in love with. And right at the beginning of this book he talks about childhood experiences of visiting the seaside in Blackpool, which happens to be my home town; so as far as I am concerned Tim Parks can do no wrong...!
In this volume
Apr 10, 2010 Kathy rated it liked it
I read this in lieu of Italian Neighbors (a book club pick), which my library does not have. Inexpicably, they did have this book, which is the sequel.

I expected a travelogue, along the lines of "A Year in Provence". This book was much better. It is the 7 year story of an Englishman and his Italian wife raising their children in Italy. It involves the education of Tim Parks in all ways Italian, as well as the education of his two children, Michele and Sofi. It was like being a fly on the wall o
Mar 31, 2008 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in Italy
This book was an interesting and enjoyable read, although there is an undertone of smug criticism of Italy and Italians throughout the book-- a bit odd since the author is married to an Italian and has lived in Italy for a decade or two. I guess he's a bit like a teenage boy with a big crush that he can't quite seem to admit to, so he criticizes his beloved instead. At any rate, if you are interested in reading a reasonable and well-written (if a little self-indulgent) account of what it is like ...more
Dana Delamar
Sep 27, 2013 Dana Delamar rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable book by Tim Parks about what it's like to raise children in Italy. Parks paints a vibrant picture of Italian life in all its mundanity and glory, contrasting it at times to his own childhood in England.

I've already ordered his other two books about living in Italy. I very much enjoyed his voice.
Merritt Corrigan
Dec 28, 2015 Merritt Corrigan rated it it was amazing
This book was pleasant as a pastry. Tim Parks has such a dry sense of humor, and a profound insight into the Italian psyche. A delightful account of raising children in Italy. Funny, fascinating, and charming!
Mar 12, 2009 Lauren rated it it was amazing
I Love, Love, Love, Love, Love this book! I enjoy the way the author describes the people he encounters and the culture he experiences! I catch myself laughing out loud in recognition of a situation or understanding of a particular situation in a far away land, or just at the situation itself.

Tim Parks, otherwise known as Meester Teem, takes the reader on the journey of raising children in Italy, asks of himself "when do children become Italian" while evaluating the socialization of his own chil
May 05, 2016 Garnette rated it really liked it
This is the third book I've read about Parks' experiences of life in Italy. He set out to examine Italian culture through the process of raising children, to examine how culture is transmitted so his children emerge as Italian rather than British, or perhaps a creative combination of both. As a mother with an adult child, this brought back to me the universal joys and struggles of child rearing, wherever you happen to be. "It takes a village to raise a child" and everyone in that village is read ...more
Nov 27, 2011 Allison rated it it was ok
Wasn't a big fan of this book. Yes it had its good points but for the most part it was boring.
Barry Lillie
Nov 10, 2012 Barry Lillie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy
hard going, droll and lacklustre writing
Jul 19, 2012 Roberta rated it it was ok
Basically boring.
Nov 17, 2015 Patricia rated it liked it
Tim Parks comes across as less smug and judgmental in this book than he did in Italian Neighbors. Perhaps fatherhood softened some of the detached aloofness in his relationship to Italy and Italians. I certainly found this book more interesting and engaging than Italian Neighbors.
Chesapeake Bae
Don't bother. Park's first book offered charming insights to Italian culture. This tome blithers on about family and neighbors. Nothing new here except a few days at school and the recent history of fascism unable to lay its weary head. His children are both Italian and British. So what?
Aug 10, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in education, parents, people interested in Italy
Shelves: read-in-2008
I am always fascinated to learn about education in other countries, and this book goes one step further by talking not only about what's intentionally taught in Italian schools, but what's unintentionally taught through the culture.

This was a good read, long, but Tim Parks is a captivating story teller. This book is for adult audiences. Nothing too awful, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under 16 or so. There was a bit of swearing and the attitudes were pretty lenient towards under-age drin
He starts well with some nice little anecdotes, but half way through it's starting to be a little slow and repetitive. Almost 400 pages is definitely too much for a book like this.
Just loved it. I don't recall if I finished it. Picked it up at a B&B from the swap shelf. Just so interesting to read about a man kept so off base by being not in charge of his life.
Jun 27, 2016 Carol rated it it was amazing
My 4th time to read it since 1999, I think. I just love this book; maybe it's the expat point-of-view? Maybe the descriptions of Italian beaches in the summer?
Oct 11, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
Even better than the first one. I think Parks hits it spot on when it comes to the Italian parenting style. Some really really funny parts and I love reading anything about Italian families. That being said, there were several chapters I didn't care for. It was too long and it just needed to be edited more carefully. I also found it rather depressing! Even though Parks wanted his 2 kids (growing up in Italy) to understand and participate in Italian culture, it seemed to me that all his ideas on ...more
Sep 21, 2013 William rated it it was ok
There wasn't much to this book. Nothing that really captured the heart or imagination. Just a rambling series of stories that barely hang together.

I think what bothers me the most about this book is the attitude the author has toward Italy. He looks down on the people and the culture and I see very little love of the place. I guess I have to wonder if you feel so negatively about the place why the hell do you write about it.

If you are so smug about Italy, move back to England and sit in your gr
Dec 31, 2014 Lauren rated it liked it
Not as good as the original book, I think; I missed all the crazy characters from the first apartment building. Still pretty interesting, and now I really want to go to the beach.
Jun 02, 2008 Ryan rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs, italy
Okay, but not as good as his first memoir, Italian Neighbors. This book focuses around the raising of his 2 children in Italy, rather than the overall culture and experience of Italy that he covers in the previous book. Perhaps I wasn't as into this book because:

1 - I am not really interested in ever having kids. And this book kind of emphasized that interest.

2 - The descriptions of raising your children "the Italian way" seems to just result in them being incredibly spoiled brats.
A written book that definitely gives you an education and what it's like to be in Italian.
May 25, 2014 Vicki rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading his others. I found it delightfully funny, insightful and gave an interesting perspective on Italian life.
Oct 19, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it
The sequel to Italian Neighbors, An Italian Education describes raising Italian family in Montecchio. Through this charming account, Parks explores the life of a quintessential Italian through the lens of a British expatriate who struggles and delights in parenthood in a different culture and country. The challenges and rewards of bringing up intrepid Michele and lady Stefi provide a tome of fodder for this wholesome and funny book. Highly recommended!
Sabrina Moser
Jul 30, 2007 Sabrina Moser rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Expats Anywhere in Southern Europe
Shelves: justfinished
Tim Parks is a hilarious writer and this book is no exception. A tale of his two small children growing up near Verona, Park's memoirs of an Anglo Saxon Dad at loose in Italy are at once funny and profound. Writing with incurable wit of family life, summer vacations, school systems, and fishing expeditions, Parks discovers through the adventures of his children the outrageous differences between life in his native England and his chosen Italy.
Dec 28, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it
This is the second book on life in Italy by Parks and explores the daunting task of raising children in Italy, from an Englishman's transplanted perspective. Again, he exhibits wit and uncanny observations, I just didn't identify as much with this plotline as much as his other book. It is still an interesting look into The Way Things Work sometimes in Italy, with regards to child-rearing and all the things that go along with that.
Jul 13, 2012 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Net als Italiaanse buren een must-read als je naar Italie gaat. Heel veel herkenbare kleine dingen die je vakantie net wat leuker maken... de kokosnootverkoper op het strand met z'n toeter en z'n 'coco-coco!', dat je na het eten zeker een uur het water niet in mag omdat je dan zeker zal verdrinken, om nog maar te zwijgen van zwemmen bij een vochtige dag... je zult er ziek van worden! Grappig volk die italianen...
Oct 26, 2008 Deb rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of travel, Italy and people with families
A fun story about an Englishman who is married to an Italian, raising their kids in Italy. This was an entertaining comparison of what it's like to raise your family in a country different than your own and what general family life might be like in Italy. It made me chuckle. I did feel, though, that towards the end it got a little long. Overall, a fun read.
May 20, 2011 Jan rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, italophile
I enjoyed this book even more than "Italian Neighors" by the same author. English born Parks lives near Verona, has an Italian wife and his children are growing up Italian, albeit bi-lingual. His affection for the country and people out-weigh any vestige of homesickness for England. I will be looking for more non-fiction by this author.
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Born in Manchester in 1954, Tim Parks grew up in London and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. In 1981 he moved to Italy where he has lived ever since. He has written eleven novels including Europa, Destiny, Cleaver and, most recently, Dreams of Rivers and Seas, as well as three non-fiction accounts of life in northern Italy (most recently A Season with Verona), a collection of 'narrative' essays, ...more
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