Author: Jackie Townsend
Publisher: Ripetta Press
Type of book: Italy, 2000s, career, marriage, pragmatic life, America, Italian man/American woman pairing, family
Year it was published: 2013
Winner, Chick Lit, Indie Reader Discovery Awards 2013
Can love cross borders? In "Imperfect Pairings" a woman’s love for an Italian leaves her confronting this question. He’s Jack in America, but he’s Giovanni in Italy; understanding him means understanding his culture, his language. It means losing the foundations of her identity to become entangled in the deep-rooted vines of his family’s troubled past when she’d vowed to remain disentangled. Her career and autonomy had always come first, and she fell in love thinking she could control it, not give in to it. Is she losing herself? Or is she finally giving in to the woman she’d been all along.
This is an adult love story, one that will leave you thinking long afterwards about the oceans that separate us from the ones we love.
Its peculiar that secondary characters are far more likable rather than the main characters, and I would have wanted to see more of secondary characters rather than Jamie and Jack. The main characters include Jamie who comes from a line of successful women. She's a workaholic, and she has issues with family, at least with her own family which includes her sister and mother in particular. Then there's Jack/Giovanni who seems to have a love/hate relationship with Italy and is devoted to his family no matter the causes and circumstances. He's not close to his father and wants to save the vineyard, I think. The characters I did like were Silvestro (at least he's memorable to me,) a playboy of sorts, and I would have liked to see more of Luca and Simona as well as to know more background for Jack's father and Lucrezia.
I honestly have no idea. I know that it probably has something to do with families and dealing with foreigners I think.
This is written in third person narrative completely from Jamie's point of view and understanding of the culture and so forth. In beginning I thought that the author was trying to prepare the reader for Jamie's experience in dealing with Italians, which I would have forgiven if I came away in understanding the culture, but it didn't work out like that. In a lot of areas I am pretty shocked. In one main area I'm shocked in is that Jack shares little to no cultural education with Jamie. From personal experience, if someone's dating a foreigner, they want you to understand where and why they are the way they are. If the author tried to do something like that in the book, she didn't do a good job of it.
born Los Angeles, The United States
twitter username jtownbooks
influences Joan Didion, Jonathan Franzen, J.M. Coetzee, Melissa Banks, Frances Ma...more
member since November 2011
Jackie Townsend, a native of Southern California, spends a lot of her time in places not her own. As the youngest of four children, she carries with her a strong sense of family to these places, often foreign, and writes about belonging (or not belonging), loss, and love. She lives in New York with her husband. Imperfect Pairings is her second novel.
I've looked forward to reading this book, and I desperately wanted to like it. Alas, that's not my fate when it came to it. I found it a very frustrating read with very little tied up cohesively. I get that its a book for people who know or understand Italians, or at least wine and the culture, but I'm not one of these, thus explanations of phrases would have been nice, or at least a mini dictionary on the back of the book. The book did come with a family tree but a character list would have been more helpful, and sometimes it seems as if there's too much going on to make much sense. There is potential for this book, but I think it needs to be rewritten and ties need to be tied up better instead of just left hanging. I also would have liked it if there was more character psychology and thoughts included. Why is Giovanni/Jack the way he is? Why does he seem to have a love/hate relationship with Italy? Why doesn't Jamie desire any children? Nothing wrong with her choice, but psychology behind the choice would have been nice. I couldn't understand or sympathize with anyone in the book.
Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.
2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)