Actor Tucker’s follow-up memoir to Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy (2007).
Best known for his role on L.A. Law, Tucker takes enormous pleasure in food, wine and friends, especially when all are to be found in Italy, where he and his wife, actress Jill Eikenberry, have a house in Umbria. The gregarious author enthusiastically writes about his enjoyment of all things Italian, especially mouthwatering meals. But when Jill’s mother, Lora, was widowed, a darker world began to intrude on their sunny semi-retirement. When Lora’s subsequent decline into dementia made independent living in Santa Barbara, Calif., impossible for her, they moved the elderly widow to a senior residence near the Manhattan apartment where the couple lived during part of the year. That arrangement proved unsatisfactory as well, and eventually she moved into an apartment across the hall from them. Tucker makes clear his misgivings about this proximity, and he ably captures his wife’s complicated feelings of guilt, responsibility and love. When his daughter Alison, an accomplished caterer, moved to Manhattan and took an apartment nearby and their son Max, a musician, moved in with her, Tucker realized that their new arrangement resembled the close, multigenerational family life so common in Italian society. The benefits were huge, with everyone supporting each other, and Alison brought the added bonus of terrific food. Tucker and his wife were able to move ahead with a film they had been producing and appear in an off-off-Broadway musical. The author—whose sturdy ego is evident, as are his concerns about his privacy—presents himself more as a sympathetic observer than as a deeply involved participant in the mother-in-law project.
Despite some gratuitous name-dropping, a warm account full of laughs and love.