book review: How to Love an American Man by Kristine Gasbarre

How to Love an American Man: A True StoryThe 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.

As an affiliate, I receive a very, very small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. A memoir of family that is both humorous and engaging? Oh yes. Sign me up for that one! It sounds great and like something that I would love to read. Thanks for the great review!

  2. I hate when I know I would have so much more appreciated a book at a different time of my life because it makes me wish I would have read it or it would have been written at that time, LOL.

  3. This sounds excellent. I met the author at BEA and thought I might like her book, but I haven't yet gotten around to nabbing a copy. Looks like I definitely ought to! Sounds like a book I could definitely relate to.

  4. I have this and can't believe I haven't read it yet. It sounds adorable. Story of my life! (not getting to it yet, not the actual storyline of the book, ok I'm rambling now so I'm going to stop typing ...)

  5. Wow this one sounds amazing! From the title I have to admit that I thought it was something about mailorder brides :-) But this sounds like a really good book - it goes on the TBR :-)

  6. I'm not wild for memoirs but my wife's family is from rural Pennsylvania so I'm intrigued. And the title grabs me -- I'm a sucker for novels with the 'How to X' theme.

  7. I do love memoirs (generally), but would not have considered this one for some reason until reading your review. I may be too old...LOL

  8. I'm excited about the family portion of this book as well - I can't wait to read it!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  9. It's amazing how our perceptions change with our stages of life! Great review.

  10. This sounds great. I love memoirs, but especially with they are funny and engaging. It feels like you're talking with a long lost friend.

  11. I was curious about this one at well. Now I think I'll wait until it comes to the library. Thanks!

  12. I haven't a copy of this book, but haven't gotten to it yet. I'm glad to read another positive review!


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