One of the things I love about blogging is “meeting” other bloggers and reading what they are writing about. One of the blogs I follow is written by Beth (a fellow Michigander) who writes at “I didn’t have my glasses on…” In a recent blog, she mentioned a book she was listening to that had her laughing out loud. She went on to mention that it was set in Italy. Her blog can be read here:
The book was “The Patron Saint of Second Chances” by Christine Simon. On Beth’s recommendation, I requested it at the library. I picked it up yesterday and finished it today. I am sure that I easily could have read it in one sitting. It was a delightful read that did have me laughing out loud at times. Here is the Goodreads synopsis:
Vacuum repairman and self-appointed mayor of Prometto, Italy (population 212) Signor Speranza has a problem: unless he can come up with 70,000 euros to fix the town’s pipes, the water commission will shut off the water to the village and all its residents will be forced to disperse. So in a bid to boost tourism—and revenue—he spreads a harmless rumor that movie star Dante Rinaldi will be filming his next project nearby.
Unfortunately, the plan works a little too well, and soon everyone in town wants to be a part of the fictional film—the village butcher will throw in some money if Speranza can find roles for his fifteen enormous sons, Speranza’s wistfully adrift daughter reveals an unexpected interest in stage makeup, and his hapless assistant Smilzo volunteers a screenplay that’s not so secretly based on his undying love for the film’s leading lady. To his surprise—and considerable consternation, Speranza realizes that the only way to keep up the ruse is to make the movie for real.
As the entire town becomes involved (even the village priest invests!) Signor Speranza starts to think he might be able to pull this off. But what happens when Dante Rinaldi doesn’t show up? Or worse, what if he does?
It was a book that did not require a lot of thinking and at times was ridiculous, but I loved every second of it. Perhaps I could see a little bit of my Italian relatives in some of the characters. To me, the book read like a very funny sitcom episode or like an old radio comedy show. At times there was some predictability, but it doesn’t take away from the story at all.
On the back flap of the book it says this about the author, “Christine Simon grew up in a very large and very loud Italian family…” I don’t know any Italian who doesn’t have great stories about their family! In the acknowledgments section of the book, she mentions family members who were the inspiration of some of the characters.
One of the things that I must give kudos for is the fact that this book is very “family friendly.” I don’t recall an overabundance of profanity. As a matter of fact, I think the word “ass” is mentioned once or twice and that’s it. There are no long and detailed paragraphs describing sexual acts. There is a kiss or two. Violence is kept to a minimum as well. It’s just a really fun book.
The book was written by the author while in quarantine, and it is her first novel. This is the second “first novel” from someone that I have read and really enjoyed. The other was The Measure by Nikki Erlick. Maybe I need to check out more unknown authors?
I know today is the first day of fall, but it won’t be long before we’re all shut in because of the cold and snow. This book is an easy read that provides lots of laughs and is the perfect book to enjoy over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.