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Ciao, America: An Italian Discovers the U.S.
Ciao America An Italian Discovers the US Author:Beppe Severgnini In the wry but affectionate tradition of Bill Bryson, Ciao, America! is a delightful look at America through the eyes of a fiercely funny guest — one of Italy’s favorite authors who spent a year in Washington, D.C. — — When Beppe Severgnini and his wife rented a creaky house in Georgetown they were determined to see if t... more »hey could adapt to a full four seasons in a country obsessed with ice cubes, air-conditioning, recliner chairs, and, of all things, after-dinner cappuccinos. From their first encounters with cryptic rental listings to their back-to-Europe yard sale twelve months later, Beppe explores this foreign land with the self-described patience of a mildly inappropriate beachcomber, holding up a mirror to America’s signature manners and mores. Succumbing to his surroundings day by day, he and his wife find themselves developing a taste for Klondike bars and Samuel Adams beer, and even that most peculiar of American institutions -- the pancake house.
The realtor who waves a perfect bye-bye, the overzealous mattress salesman who bounces from bed to bed, and the plumber named Marx who deals in illegally powerful showerheads are just a few of the better-than-fiction characters the Severgninis encounter while foraging for clues to the real America. A trip to the computer store proves just as revealing as D.C.’s Fourth of July celebration, as do boisterous waiters angling for tips and no-parking signs crammed with a dozen lines of fine print.
By the end of his visit, Severgnini has come to grips with life in these United States -- and written a charming, laugh-out-loud tribute.« less
Such a fun, quick read. The author is witty and insightful. I felt like I was learning about two cultures, the Italian culture from which the author came, and East Coast D.C. life. A little snarky but not mean. The author finds things both to love (RV-ing, sales, the community spirit) and things to hate (parking, constantly opened windows without shutters, abuse of AC) during his year in America. Funny, funny, funny!
Bookfanatic reviewed Ciao, America: An Italian Discovers the U.S. on
Helpful Score: 5
An interesting account of an Italian's impressions of modern America. The author spent only one year in America so his observations have to be taken with a grain of salt. The book is an easy read and funny at times, but I found his overall tone to be negative.
I found this "reverse" travel memoir to be humorous and enthusiastic. Hey, we Americans get to read how an Italian views OUR culture, for once, instead of us delving into others' cultures. The author pokes fun at the inconsistences of American life, particularly Wash., D.C., but in a way the opened my eyes to the absurdity of my own culture. Cool, fast read.
This is a laugh-out-loud funny book and I loved it! It's a humorous look at an Italian correspondent's year-long stay in Georgetown in DC ... and I really mean humorous. He is writing for a European audience, explaining things that to us Americans are common knowledge. Perhaps I found this so funny because I have traveled in Europe and am familiar with some of the customs he mentions ... or perhaps it would be funny to anyone, I'm not sure.
This book was written in 1995 with an additional chapter added in 2000. It's obvious that the author has a genuine love for America. It was great to get that feeling throughout the book, especially in the current international atmosphere where the US seems almost to be Public Enemy No. 1. However I would like to know how this book would have turned out if Severgnini had written it post-9/11.
Regardless, it was a quick read, full of laughs, and will be passed on to someone else to enjoy shortly. I may even give it to my mom ... she's not a big reader, but the chapters are short and the humor is excellent so she may like it!