Finally! Carissima was a book about people from my culture – Italians! I loved everything about this book. The quirky and fiercely loyal Italians who graced the pages made this an enjoyable read. I instantly felt comfortable with the mannerisms and sporadic Italian wording used by the crazy Italian women surrounding Pia during the summer she lived with her aunt in New York. Attempting to recover from her sister’s death, Pia takes an internship at a magazine to foster her writing career at the exact moment Italian star Francesca hides out down the street from Pia. When Pia seized the opportunity to write the first article about Francesca in over a decade, her life became intertwined with Francesca’s in surprising ways.
The story was told through the perspectives of both Francesca and Pia, which gave two vastly perspectives of life. Francesca was worldly and slightly jaded, while Pia was hopeful, but guarded. The author packed in several themes that all melded together very well. Each woman struggled with her own demons while navigating the unpredictability of lovers, and embodied traits of both a heroine and a villain at different times making them complex and real. As a whole, this was a fantastic story, although there were times when the pace dragged. I wished the story had moved from New York to Rome faster, because I was eager to revisit Roma with Pia. The dialog was very accurate- at least based on the catch phrases my own family uses! I appreciated that Pia emerged as a strong character at the end of the story, overcoming issues with trust, forgiveness, and betrayal.
I enjoyed reading about my own culture and would definitely pick up another book by this author.