A Roman tax accountant befriends a heartbroken American journalist with heartwarming results.
In 2003, when Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert nursed a broken heart with a triple-destination journey abroad, her first stop was Rome, where a mutual friend surmised that she and Spaghetti (his real name) would hit it off. Spaghetti’s endearing three-part narrative begins with his colorful Italian childhood, wrestling with a surname that begged for mockery and nurturing a love for professional soccer and folk music (James Taylor). He then details time spent immersed in American culture during a “dream” trip to Manhattan and a lengthy but magical cross-country excursion to the California coast by train in 1995. The final section chronicles his “extraordinary” friendship with Gilbert in Rome. An accommodating host, Spaghetti enriched Gilbert’s three-month stay by steeping her in Italian culture as they toured Rome “inch by inch” on a scooter. Gilbert’s easy smile and big-hearted compassion was returned by Spaghetti, who brought folkloric history, breathtaking scenery and a love of spectator sports and food to the table, especially dramatic descriptions (recipes and glossary included) of traditional “fettuccine al ragu” and 190-proof homemade limoncello, which could “cut your legs off at the knees after your second tiny glassful.” Part memoir, part informative guidebook, Spaghetti’s anecdotes are plentiful and immensely entertaining. He shares his “personal pasta ranking system,” in which “rebellious” bucatini earns first place but proves a “natural sauce catapult,” notes the ever-present “mocking, humorous tone” of the typical Roman personality and demonstrates an uncanny ability to present classic Italian landmarks and histories with the charm and passion of a seasoned tour guide. The author’s literary voice is undeniably warm and welcoming as both friends engaged in a cross-cultural exchange—a “different kind of love” that has been fondly immortalized in Gilbert’s bestselling book.
An enticing entrée of sweet amity and savory memories.