The backstory: When Meg of Write Meg reviewed this memoir back in May, I knew I wanted to read it.
The basics: How to Love an American Man is a memoir of life, love, family and home. While dealing with the break-up with her British boyfriend and the death of her beloved grandfather, Kristine Gasbarre opts to come back home, live with her parents in rural Pennsylvania and figure out where to go next.
My thoughts: Overall, this memoir is a thoroughly engaging read overflowing with honesty and humor. I found myself drawn to the theme of family more than that of love, but that is much more a product of where I am than the fault of Ms. Gasbarre. Her struggles, both humorous and moving, of getting to know her grandmother were delightful. Her grandparents were married for sixty years, and both women loved him deeply, yet they have struggled to connect over the years.
I also appreciated the theme of coming home as one of choice and blessing rather than failure, laziness or burden. I, too, spent a year living with my parents in my mid-to-late-twenties, and it was a wonderful experience. I was moved by Gasbarre's journey from living in New York City and Italy and opting for life in rural Pennsylvania.
Given the love and devotion Gasbarre has for her family, when she wrote about her attempts at dating, it was somewhat evident what path the relationships would take. I liked her stories of dating in rural Pennsylvania while living with her parents, but these stories lacked the emotional resonance of the rest of the memoir.
The verdict: Had I read How to Love an American Man five or ten years ago, or were I still single now, I likely would have loved it in its entirety. As a product of where I am now, I did love parts of it, but the dating stories weren't as captivating for me as the tales of family.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Length: 292 pages
Publication date: August 16, 2011
Source: publisher, via TLC Book Tours
Want more? Connect with Kristine on her Website, Twitter of her Facebook page. See the full tour line-up for more reviews. Already convinced? Treat yourself! Buy How to Love an American Man from Amazon in paperback or for the Kindle.
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