|A Year at 32 September Way by Mary Ylisela|
November 4, 2012
What happens when five people from three different countries move to the same apartment building in Italy for one year? One thing's for sure--their lives will never be the same. Meet Carlisle, Nicolette, Josh, Charles, Eva and their landlord Senor Benedetto as they spend a year at 32 September Way. Whether they hope to find something in Verona or wish to leave something behind, the City of Love manages to change each one of them in ways they never expected.My Review:
This book started awkwardly for me, as it jumps between each character in what I can best describe as mini-chapters. But what was awkward at first, I quickly found that I enjoyed as I got to know each character. I went from being overwhelmed that I would never remember who was who, as there are several characters, to quickly knowing each character intimately. In this book, we meet several characters who (mostly) spend a year in Verona, Italy, living at Senor Benedetto's apartment building.
Marcello Benedetto: the older Italian owner of the apartment building
Apt 1 - Josh and Nicolette: the California couple from the movie industry
Apt 2 - Carlisle: the writer from Washington
Apt 3 - Charles: the English banker
Apt 4 - Eva: Marcello's young German girlfriendEach character has decided to spend a year in Verona for very different personal reasons, each bringing along with them their own past that will play into their present. During this year long look into their lives, we get to watch them not only grown as individuals but watch them meld into their own little community.
What I really enjoyed about this book was that it felt like a great character study. We flip though each character in circulating segments, but these little tidbits really helped me get to know them on a deeper level, working to understand them and care about them on an individual and group level. The characters are not perfect, and I don't agree with all their choices. But the author does a great job pulling the reader into their lives. It was a refreshing read and made me feel like I was in a soap opera, minus the bad acting and outlandishness. Their circumstances were realistic (perhaps outside of the fact that they could all afford to live in Italy for a year) and most were empathy-inducing. By the end the author made me feel like I had really been a part of this group.
The only thing missing for me was more dialogue. I love good dialogue and feeling a part of the conversation rather than being told what happened. While there is some decent dialogue, I feel like there could have been more. The author would frequently describe how the character was feeling or thinking or even what was occurring without just letting the moment be played out for the reader. However, I will say that despite this, the author still did a great job making me feel like I was right there with each character, feeling what they felt, seeing what they saw.
Bottomline: This is an engaging, character-driven, well-paced story. The story pulled me in quickly as it absorbed me into the lives of these characters. I really enjoyed this read.