Rachel P's Reviews > Swimming to Elba

Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone
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's review
Jul 16, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Read from July 14 to 16, 2012

I won a free copy of “Swimming to Elba” as a first-reads giveaway.

Best friends, Anna and Francesca, are thirteen going on eighteen in this coming of age story set in Via Stalingrado, Italy; a poor neighborhood off the coast of Elba. This story explores themes such as the transition from childhood to adolescence, sexuality, loss of innocence, the inner need to rebel, and also the frustrations of growing up with few opportunities.

Truthfully, I have mixed feelings about this book. Over and over again I kept thinking that these girls are so young! I feel like they should be looking forward to a Justin Beiber concert rather than losing their virginity at fourteen! But I’m sure that’s just my American sentimentality.

I liked that the story is set in a place I am completely unfamiliar with and it provides an intimate look at the lives of people I would otherwise never know anything about. However, as this story was originally written in Italian, I think there are something things that definitely got lost in translation. This giveaway was for an uncorrected proof so maybe this will be sorted out in the final version but there are various language errors and some sentences that didn’t even make sense.

Still, it was very absorbing and enjoyable read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys coming of age stories and anyone with an interest in modern Italian life and culture.

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07/14/2012 page 100
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