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Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy
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Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,753 ratings  ·  213 reviews
The actor Michael Tucker and his wife, the actress Jill Eikenberry, having sent their last child off to college, were vacationing in Italy when they happened upon a small cottage nestled in the Umbrian countryside. The three-hundred-fifty-year-old rustico sat perched on a hill in the verdant Spoleto valley amid an olive grove and fruit trees of every kind. For the Tuckers, ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published 2007)
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Nov 16, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Reads like diary entries from a very lucky person: "Today we met more fabulous talented fun people who took an instant liking to us as well, and we all got drunk and danced around the kitchen. Today our best friend (did we mention in the last 5 pages that she's Korean?) said we were the most fun people she'd ever met. Today we bought the cutest house (they weren't even going to sell it at all, but of course once they met us they fell in love with us and are now our best friends). Today we almost ...more
Jul 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I envisioned the story of a couple wholly immersing themselves in another culture when I first discovered Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy, but my expectations proved a little off target. This is the story of a complete snob who loves food, an uninspiring self-congratulatory foray into the life of Michael Tucker.

The book rubbed me wrong from the start. “The lobby was empty, too. Of celebrities, that is. There were other people – regular people – but you can
Sep 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!
I literally didn't have time to list this book as "currently reading." I started it yesterday and finished it today. It is hilarious, touching, motivating, exciting, etc. I started reading it because it talked about the food of Italy, but continued because it was just a great read. It really makes me wish that it was me living in Italy, cooking pizza in my own 400 year old outdoor oven, buying fresh EVERYTHING, living well and slowly not running around trying to get everything done immediately, ...more
Aug 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography
A lovely and delightfully written mini-memoir by actor Michael Tucker (remember him from L.A. LAW?) about his impulsive purchase of a 350 year old worker's cottage in Umbria and the year that followed. Fortunately, this is not one of those stories that bog down in the details of construction, coping with ancient plumbing, and finding the perfect iron gate. Instead, it focuses on Tucker's affinity for the place more or less as it is, his appreciation of its history, and his newcomer's delight in ...more
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic. Having spent time in Italy, I found that Tucker painted a wonderfully fleshed-out picture of living there. I cannot even count how many people I recommended this book to, who also loved it.

I loved Tucker's humor and his take on living in Italy and the way he related to his wife and friends. I want to be their friend!!!!!

Highly recommended--- and I want to read more. I wish he kept a blog. As soon as I closed the book, I started to miss this couple.
Elaine Dowling
Sep 09, 2009 rated it liked it
There is really nothing wrong with this book. It was a fine, easy weekend read. It is squarely in the Californians (in this case, Michael Tucker and Jill Eichenberry of LA Law fame) move to Italy (Umbria instead of Tuscany), buy a house, renovate/add-on to house, travel all over, mention the house keeper and gardener in passing, eat and drink anything and everything and spend the whole time complaining about how broke they are. Anyone who doesn't consider a couple hundred grand a year to be mini ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Fun book. But don't read it if you are hungry. Best enjoyed with a jug of wine & a loaf of bread. Thou is optional.

If ever a book could make you want to travel somewhere just to eat the food this would be that book.
Jul 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Maybe it was because I just read Doran's "The Reluctant Tuscan," and maybe the book was just not that good, but I never got a sense of Italy - only Hollywood and people who need a LOT of maintenance. Tucker and his wife spend nearly all their time glued to an expat community in Umbria. Sure the other ex-pats have discovered great butchers and the like, but hearing about being introduced to someone - and finding a place on one's own is altogether different. It was as if there was a curtain betwee ...more
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Michael Tucker's book was a delightful read! His humor, his appreciation for "the good life," and his love of everything Italian, make this so much more than a travel diary. The only thing better than reading this book is BEING THERE. Reading this book makes doing that seem very possible!
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
This book seemed like my abroad, food...trying to assimilate in a second culture. Yay! I had this book on my to read list for awhile--- and this is the year of getting stuff OFF, time like tracking it down as now.
First disclaimer: I had never heard of Michael Tucker (the actor) before....though he seems to think I should have.
Second disclaimer: I often get annoyed with Americans living abroad and dissing a culture they are forcing their way into. (Yea, I am not sure why I
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. I read this book as slow as possible because I didn't want it to end and kept putting it down to make it last longer. When I did finish it, I felt as if I had just had a long enjoyable meal with old friends.

The book is written as if you're having a conversation with Tucker. In the book Tucker talks about Jill (Eikenberry), their kids, ITALY, FOOD and love. Love of each other, of family, of friends and life itself. He talks about their worries after LA
May 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
"A Year in Province" wannabe. Between the name-dropping and the constant whining about suddenly being old washed-up TV actors who had to take taxis (God forbid) instead of limos, this book contained little of the Italian countryside that the blurb on the back promised. I want a refund!!! (Too bad I borrowed this copy from the library.)
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was enchanting right from the start. Michael Tucker has a wonderful sense of humor and at times, his quick wit will have you laughing out loud. Reading this book makes you want to take the plunge and buy a home in a foreign land just for the experience of living and loving abroad. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and didn't want it to end.
Ket Lamb
Oct 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves Italy.
"L.A. Law" veterans, Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, buy a rustico in Umbria, where they discover the best kept culinary secrets of the area. Learn what makes one butcher's prosciutto delectable and to sample those mouth-watering sandwiches at a rosdside porchetta. Just don't read this book on a diet!
Diane Haegele
Sep 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Average writing (I kept thinking that I could write a book such as this if I had spent a month in another country) Self-congratulatory, self-promotional, self,self,self!!!
Other than names of small villages in Umbria, which might be nice to visit), there was little of value....
Ye Jin
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Reading this book makes you want to follow in their footsteps and take it one step further to become expats. What a wonderful description of the Umbria region of Italy as well as a descriptive collection of the regional food they enjoyed.
Barbara Mader
Aug 06, 2008 rated it liked it
I picked this up at the library just because it was set in Italy, but frankly didn't expect much. I enjoyed it, though, found the writing natural and sometimes funny and I learned some quirky things about Italy. It was a good vacation read.
Apr 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: yes
I enjoyed living through Michael Tucker while reading this book. I have never been to Italy and it has been high up on my "must do" list, but I felt like I was seeing their home and the dinners they made as if I was a guest.
May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-reads
If you enjoyed "Under The Tuscan Sun" you will enjoy this read. Your mouth will water at each chapter as he describes the preparation and enjoyment of each meal in Italy. Living in another country is not for everyone but Michael gives you a real taste of how evolved for them. Great vacation read.
Sep 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Delightful story of two Americans learning to live and eat in a foreign country!
Matt Howard
Aug 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir by the actor Michael Tucker is a memoir about love - love for his wife, for good food and wine, and for Italy. Definitely worth reading, even if you never cook.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Cute Book! Anyone who loves to eat and travel will like this book.
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a fun book to read .. and made me wish I had tons of money to buy a restored farmhouse in Italy
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
The best part of this book was the food!
I would like to understand their idea of being broke.
Jul 26, 2007 rated it liked it
Fun little romp with Michael Tucker in Umbria. Descriptions of food and drink were mouthwatering.
Nov 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: american, fluff, food, italian
---- kind of sick of the "I bought a house in Italy and gained a new appreciation of life/food/love" genre --- and yet I can't resist it.
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is another memoir about an American moving to Italy. It's written by the actor Michael Tucker. He's good.
Book Concierge
3.5 stars
Wonderful memoir of food, wine, and love in Italy. Tucker writes in a style that is reminiscent of Peter Mayle ... but not quite as funny, and with much more focus on FOOD.
Oct 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Written by the former LA Law star, he purchased a home with his wife in Umbria. I wanted to eat the food I was reading about and wished I had the money to live there too.
Ruth Sedei
Aug 28, 2008 rated it liked it
A fun book about living and eating in Umbria.
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