It's hard to find in this house but Rebel is golfing at Men's Night and the Rs are in bed. It's a little early for R1 but this mom needed a couple things: a) silence (save the low volume of the RHOC reunion in the background) and b) her drink of choice, box wine. (don't judge people).
Ok so, Beautiful Ruins
I felt like I was really all over that map (literally) trying to keep up with the who, what, when of this book, but I am going to give it a shot.
Who: lots of people! Um, Pasquale, an Italian hotel keeper, Dee, an American actress who has NO idea what is going on, a couple endearing Italian fishermen, and a couple other characters. Even Liz Taylor and Richard Burton make cameos in the book. Pretty much anyone you can dream shows up in this book. It's part of its charm and part of why it's a little hard to keep up. Then, you'll meet lots of children, friends and other connected to these two people...
Pasquale meets Dee...Dee knows two men, one of whom she had a love affair with...the two set off a series of events that transcend 50 years and you get to experience it all. Pasquale knows secrets that affect Dee and she doesn't know those secrets...It's Young and the Restless meets The Real Housewives of New Jersey meets Sex and The City...and I LOVE IT!
Can two people exist and not end up together but still have an effect on one another's lives years later? Apparently, YES!
What: The book starts of in the 1960s. You find Pasquale living in this idyllic tiny village on the edges of a few cliffs on the coast of Italy. He's realistic because he loves his mother and mourns the loss of his father but he's someone you'll crush on because he dreams of putting a tennis court on an oceanic cliff. I could smell the salt and hear the waves, and I love all the random dorky fishermen that I got to know. I loved how the author made it seem like the beautiful appearance of a American woman seem like a figment of Pasquale's imagination. She's an air head, but in a Marilyn-esque likable way. You'll see why when you read it.
This book has it all. Lovely settings....check...lies, check, illegitimate children, check, drugs, check..regret, check...I mean really. You name it, you have it.
Where: Italy. Seattle. New York.
When: 1960s, a little bit of the 70s and present day. Who doesn't love a little bit of gossips from actual actors of the 60s??
How: A series of setting changes. Also, it is told by multiple different characters. This book may lose you at some point during the multiple changes of setting, years and countries and storytellers. 1960, present day, 1970s. Please hang in there the author "sets the stage" and the last 30% of the book IS SO GOOD. Alot of the characters are actors and screenwriters and there is a part of the book that I actually was THANKING and nodding my head at the author, saying THANK YOU for this certain part of the book...
There are alot of untied loose ends and then at the end... the author creates the most perfect ending. He ties it all up in a perfect little bow. I sighed when I got to that part... it's perfect.
Here is one of my favorite passages:
"It all happens so fast, you wake a young man and at lunch are middle aged, and by dinner you can imagine your death. And were you happy? Dee asks, and he answers Oh, Yes, without hesitation, then thinks about it and adds, Not always, of course, but I think more than most people..."
My favorites: I find that a lot of my favorite books span the length of the character's lifetimes. I met Pasquale as a cute, wistful, hopeful 21 year old and left him a seasoned, happy, 70 some year old man. I met Dee, a hopeful, helpless 22 year old with not much going for her and left her a wise, delicate woman named Debra... and then you get to meet a huge cast of characters that all revolve around these two...
Why:....hmmm why read it? Because there are actually 4 or 6 books within this book. Lots of lifetimes... so many choices that effect the rest of the lives of the characters... and there are some many connections! If this book where a Venn diagram, you would need 3D glasses.
Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.
So, read it, but stay patient. And pay attention to the beautiful scenery. Don't be afraid to Google the "Italian coasts" to give you a visual.