Saturday, August 16, 2008

Book Review: Without Reservations

This book is by Alice Steinbach. There are times when I deviate from art books, romance novels, and teaching related materials. I like to read just to read. I picked up this book because the back sounded interesting.

It is all about a newspaper journalist who takes a sabbatical from her life and goes to Europe for the better part of a year. I really enjoyed how she so adeptly pointed out how we defined ourselves. Things that we are afraid to do because we don't want to look stupid. There are a lot of great connections to her childhood and many of her memories. How she describes each place she visits is very detailed - like the first Provence book. She is not pretentious and talks a lot about her weaknesses, observations, and new friendships.

I did notice that the book seemed more rushed and less detailed after the middle of the book - near the end. I felt she glossed over some of the places she visited. I did not feel satisfied with the ending of the book. It stops with her going home. What did she do after she got home? Did she go back to the same job? What did she change about her life? What about her budding romance? Some of the questions were answered at the end of the book where there is a short interview with her. I thought these questions should have been answered in the actual book itself. Yeah, yeah. I know that means that there might be a sequel. I still did not feel satisfied.

How many of us wish that we could just pick up and leave our lives? We could go traveling through Europe or where ever. I have always wanted to go to Italy, Spain, and mostly, Australia. I would settle for a week in Hawaii. I love my kids and would never even think of leaving them. This book just made me wonder what I would do if my kids were all grown and it was just me and my career.

You will enjoy this book if you are a people watcher or like reading about other places. It was like a mini vacation for me. I will get there one day.

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