Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian” as Want to Read:
The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  1,665 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
A Book Sense Pick for May 2005, this is the humorous tale of how the author moved— against his will and his better judgment—to Italy with his wife, only to rediscover himself, his marriage, and the importance of getting in touch with his inner Italian.

After years of working on a string of sitcoms, Phil Doran found himself on the outside looking in. Just as he and his peer
...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 23rd 2006 by Gotham Books (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Reluctant Tuscan, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Reluctant Tuscan

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Lisa
Jul 30, 2009 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
The story of a couple who buys a run down, ancient building in the hills and renovates it is not unique. The appeal when I picked up this book was the claim by Doran, a former Hollywood screenwriter, that he was telling the story of how he came to love Italy after he and his wife renovated a house near Pisa.

I don't believe him. From the beginning, when he reluctantly joined his wife after she bought the house, to the end, when they are living in the house, his tone is sarcastic and his descripti
...more
Christine
Mar 28, 2009 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this! If a vacation to Italy is out this year-or possibly next, this will take you right in the middle country where you would want to be, without all the touristy mire. I really enjoyed the characters in this book: They were real,honest, and strangely familiar to me. Lots of hilarious situations regarding the thick Italian country culture. I wanted to be apart of them. I didn't want this to end! It's one of those "I'm depressed because I finished this book" reads. It was a mini-vacation, ...more
Sandra
Dec 12, 2012 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book I have mixed emotions. I loved the story of the people who live in this little town in Tuscany, but I didn't like some of the meanness of the author and his wife. I understood their reasons for being devious to the people in this town, but at the same time it seemed like instead of getting an attorney and working towards a mutual solution for everyone, they chose to be petty and spiteful, just like their neighbor.
The author also shows how much us Americans are pampered i
...more
Carolyn Dorstek
Mar 25, 2010 Carolyn Dorstek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carolyn by: Matt Intindoli
It is refreshing to read a book that makes you laugh from the first sentence. I am thoroughly enjoying this book. Just what I needed this week. Thanks Matt for recommending it.

Finished this book awhile ago and it still comes to mind. It's humor and refreshing look at a wonderful culture has become the stuff of daydreams for me. Out to dinner last night with friends who tried to burst my "daydream bubble" by pointing out the realities of living life in another country, but dreams (or the need for
...more
Linda
This was the book I chose to read while vacationing in Italy, and it was great. It was charming, funny, irreverent, but believable -- written by a middle aged Hollywood comedy writer, who with his wife decided (albeit reluctantly on his part) to escape the rat race and stress of their American lives and move to a small town in Tuscany. What they experienced while renovating their Piccolo Rustico (extreme fixer-upper) and assimilating with their neighbors was both hilarious and touching, and abov ...more
Kathryn
Jul 26, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This is a very pleasant book about a man rather unwillingly giving up his Type A Hollywood lifestyle to restore and live in an abandoned rustic house in rural Tuscany. It’s a fun easy read, and one that I enjoyed very much.

For twenty years the author has been a writer of television scripts in Hollywood. His wife of twenty years (no children) is an artist and sculptor, and they spend half the year apart, with him in Hollywood and she sculpting in Italy. Just when he realizes that fifty-year-old t
...more
Kathleen
May 30, 2013 Kathleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I would not recommend this book for a number of reasons. 1. The story is presented as non-fiction but that is entirely unbelievable. There is nothing remotely believable about the dialogue or actions of any of the characters. So much has been exaggerated for comic effect that none of it plays realistically. 2. The portrayal of the people he meets in Italy is embarrassingly cliched, written as though the author never actual went to Italy and thinks he can get along with resurrecting cliches that ...more
Liz
Feb 23, 2009 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
As long as there are human beings on earth, I think, there will be books of this genre. Yes, yet another "outsider goes to foreign country and has amusing experiences with the quirky locals". These books practically write themselves, because it is a simple fact that wherever you go on earth, there will be crazy people doing crazy things. And, as any writer knows, these experiences beg to be written down. But sometimes the most frequently used formulas are the best, and that is why these books wi ...more
Leah
I was interested to read this book because Phil Doran is the screenwriter who worked on Who's the Boss and The Wonder Years. He's also a complainy, whiny American who, thank goodness, finally gets his childish act together and works out his marriage with his wife. Granted, his wife bought a house in Italy and there were tons of obstacles involved in repairing the place, but his attitude toward the Italian culture was more than reluctant at first. He came around in the end, but the book ends on a ...more
Jill
Feb 18, 2009 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very fast read. Very funny. While it falls in the Frances Mayes category of I-had-a-midlife-crisis-and-so-I-bought-a-villa-in-Tuscany-and-found-myself-and-here-is-what-I-learned-to-love-about-Italy-in-the-process book, it is much more self-deprecating, and, like I said, very spot-on-funny about Italians at times.
Julie  Durnell
Jan 23, 2016 Julie Durnell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable and amusing book of their purchase and trials restoring a small house in Cambione!
Murcam
Aug 04, 2012 Murcam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mattsgrandmom also gave us a copy of this one and enjoyed it. Good, quick read, especially after our Tuscany trip!
Kelly
Oct 24, 2016 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Doran is a self-described Hollywood refugee who is always one broken shoelace away from a nervous breakdown, so when he moves to a dilapidated farmhouse in Tuscany after being hemmed out of his thirty year career writing for sit coms, it makes for a hilarious memoir. His book is like an Alitalia coach seat from LAX to Fiumicino: up close, very personal, turbulent at times, and ultimately fantastically rewarding.
Whether buttering up local official to get their construction plans approved, or coo
...more
Telcochris
So so - many other books along the same lines have been written and are superior
Pete Partin
Great "travel" prep book. A comedy writer is the perfect person to write "travel" books.

Cathy
Oct 10, 2016 Cathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! I laughed and wished I was there in Tuscany with these charming and lively people who really know how to live life to the fullest.
Bonnie E.
This book is entertaining at times but does not cross over into being particularly enchanting. The author is a TV writer in his fifties named Phil Doran who has begun feeling cast aside by all of the up and comers in Hollywood. His sculptor wife Nancy has been working in Italy several months a year, every year, for most of their marriage, and the story starts as she excitedly tells him about her purchase of a run down rustic villa and her hopes to rebuild it with him. The couple does not have ch ...more
Haven Fairfield
Phil Doran is a veteran television writer. He wrote and produced for "Sanford and Son", "Too Close for Comfort" and "Who's the Boss". He also wrote for "The Wonder Years" as well as "The Bob Newhart Show". The Reluctant Tuscan is his journey of post career self discovery.

Doran is blunt in his description of his desperation at watching his once glamorous career fade. He is panicked and disillusioned by the changes he sees in the industry around him. Young turks have arrived and they are playing
...more
Debbie
Jun 18, 2014 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Reluctant Tuscan was a different type of book for me to read. I purchased it several years ago and would get a few pages in and then set it down for another book that held my attention better. This time, however, I managed to pick it up AND complete it!

The book itself is a true story that starts with an American couple - Nancy is an artist, Phil is a TV writer in LA. The wife has moved to Tuscany to work as a sculptor. While there she buys a fixer upper. A break in work/projects for Phil ha
...more
Mimi
Jun 07, 2008 Mimi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book group
Recommended to Mimi by: Courtney
It's a fast and easy summer read. I laughed many times and only got a offended a little when he makes fun of Europeans and their fear of drafts.
Phil Doran was a Hollywood Sitcom writer who got dragged to Italy by his wife, who bought a small rustic house in Tuscany. I could not put the book down. Very funny and very delicious in every way. It made me want to buy Ricotta cheese and adopt a baby goat.

Now that I think of it, I was offended with many things. I remember when Jon would tell his friend
...more
Diane Peak
Apr 05, 2016 Diane Peak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phil Doran was a TV writer/producer for 25 years. He worked on such shows as "Who's the Boss" and "Sanford and Sons". After so many years in the business, he found himself burned out and exhausted. His wife, Nancy, had been trying to get her husband to slow down for years. She felt she had lost him to his writing and to Hollywood show business. Nancy, herself, was a sculptor, who frequently went to Italy to sculpt marble. On one of her many trips to Italy, she purchased an old, broken down farm ...more
Annette
May 16, 2013 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phil Doran is a burned-out Hollywood writer for TV sitcoms who reluctantly agrees to move to Italy after his wife bought a 300-year-old farmhouse in a small town in Tuscany. Anyone who has ever done any renovations or repairs in their home knows what a headache it can be. But throw in a different language and top it off with frustrating bureaucratic green, white, and red tape, and you have the makings of an amusing disaster. Told with the witty style you would expect from a comedy writer, their ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Jun 28, 2013 Diane Ferbrache rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, italy
Hollywood script writer, Phil Doran, is having difficulty getting back in the game after a string of successes. He joins his wife for what is supposed to be a vacation in Tuscany, only to discover that she has bought a house -- a piccolo rustic -- that needs a LOT of work. He writes about adjusting (or not) to the quieter life in Italy.

It's obvious that Doran was a comedy writer since his accounts of dealing with contractors and bureaucratic red tape are at times just hilarious. But the real jo
...more
Karen
Sep 24, 2007 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an inner Italian screaming to get out
Written by Phil Doran, a Hollywood writer of sitcoms such as Sanford & Son, Too Close for Comfort, Who's the Boss?, The Wonder Years, All in the Family, The Bob Newhart Show. So you can see his type of dry humor. He's kind of on his "down" time as a writer and his wife is a sculpter who regularily travels to Italy for her art. She loves Italy and decides on a whim to buy an old house for them to live in and restore. He reluctantly goes along with her but misses the L.A. lifestyle and can't g ...more
Janet
Aug 16, 2015 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: people, italian
This was a quick and amusing read about an ex-pat American starting his life over in Italy. I didn't realize it at first, by the author was a TV producer/writer on some of my favorite TV shows. (He doesn't mention which shows so I Googled his name.) Feeling burned out by fast-paced Hollywood life, his artist wife convinces him to join her in Italy. He reluctantly agrees and arrives to discover that she has bought a rundown old farmhouse in Tuscany. Chaos ensues as they try to get building permit ...more
Sherry Lee
Jul 27, 2015 Sherry Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-and-travel
The Reluctant Tuscan is replete with Phil Doran's witty, dry sense of humor and richly detailed account of his assimilation into Italian culture. Although I really enjoyed reading this memoir, parts of the book seem a bit disingenuous the way Phil and his wife "play" on the cultural gullibility of their Italian neighbors. Even though you can kind of understand and forgive their scheming, which is in response to a laundry list of red tape and endless bureaucracy associated with the renovation of ...more
Kimberly
Aug 19, 2008 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phil Doran, a burned out Hollywood producer, moves to Italy with his wife and they start building a house and life in Italy in order to save Phil from the stressed out lifestyle that has overwhelmed him and their relationship. The book is humorous and recalls the trials and tribulations of the couple in dealing with the Italian beaurocracy while getting their built in Tuscany. The book also is about Phil first rejecting the Italian way of life, frustrated by its inefficency, but who then comes t ...more
Ken
Apr 22, 2009 Ken rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people heading to the beach.
Shelves: faraway-places
This one is a 2.5--pretty standard travel book. Doran begins his tale with the news his wife gave him on a transatlantic phone call--that she bought a house in Italy and wants him to come take a look at it (I *hate* it when my spouse buys real estate in foreign countries).

From there follows Doran's acclimation to Italy, from initial culture shock, frustrations with Italian bureaucracy, grudging acceptance of non-American traditions, to love and assimilation into a new culture.

The book jacket s
...more
Cecelia Hightower
“How I discovered my inner Italian” - a travel narrative that is both funny and informative. Phil Doran moves from California and his Hollywood lifestyle to Italy describing his delights and pitfalls. The language barrier and fight to become a permanent member of the community is comic and poignant. I loved meeting the “locals” and was sad to note the lack of cultural tradition in America. The book is “comfort food” savory and sweet but in the end left me knowing that food, family, and a sense ...more
MJ
Mar 10, 2010 MJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My husband told me I would like this book and that I was much like the author's wife...down-to-earth and practical (except, of course, for the fact that she bought this ramshackle "rustico" in the first place). And I think my husband was right. This was not so much a book about a couple moving to Italy as it was a personal voyage for a workaholic man who finally "got it" when he realized how close he came to losing his wife. He was lucky that she dragged him away from the crazy American lifestyl ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy
  • An Italian Education
  • Extra Virgin
  • An Italian Affair
  • I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany
  • Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide (Insiders' Guides)
  • The Hills of Tuscany
  • La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language
  • The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily
  • Stolen Figs: And Other Adventures in Calabria
  • Ciao, America!: An Italian Discovers the U.S.
  • Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Côte d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella
  • In Tuscany
  • The Venice Experiment: A Year of Trial and Error Living Abroad
  • The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France
  • The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria
  • A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France
  • A House in Sicily

Share This Book