Tuesday 20 May 2008
See Naples and Die by Penelope Green - review
I have just finished reading See Naples and Die by Penelope Green who is an Australian author now living on an island off the coast of Naples (according to the inside cover of her latest novel.) You may have heard of or even read her first novel, When in Rome - Chasing La Dolce Vita although I know the books are hard to get a hold of since they are only published in Australia. I obviously have my Australian connections and got the first copy for a few dollars off ebay when I was last in Australia, and my twin sister bought the latest novel yet again for me and rather then shipping it over sent it with mum and dad.
I felt strongly that I had to write a review as I am truely dissapointed with the second novel. The first one is a light hearted, sweet book all about an Australian girl moving to Rome for the first time. An easy to read novel it did not cause me to skip too many pages, however perhaps that was due to the fact that it was my first year in Rome when I first read the book, perhaps it is because I too am an Australian girl living on the other side of the world, or perhaps it is because the first book is well written in a light hearted fashion...who knows... All I can say is that I love to read, but I hate reading stupid, time wasting books that leave me skipping page after page trying to get myself interested. Sadly this is what happened with See Naple and Die.
It took me a few hours to read the book as I skipped through most of the boring parts (which are many.) She spends pages on the history of Naples but tells the tales in a boring fashion. One minute the book is a girly novel about life and love, and the next minute it is some boring history lesson. She also spends way too many pages on her obsession with the Camorra and the bleakness of Napoli. Penelope had only lived one year in Napoli which is the time her book is based, however she makes herself out to be some expert of the way of life, and leads us to believe she has delved into the souls of the locals, uncovered their truths about the 'Napoli' that the tourists never see. Lastly Penelope Green appears to be confused as to what genre her book would be, so she decided to make it a bit of everything...it really was for me a confusing read as she goes really indepth into some aspects and then she lightly dusts over other parts. The book is a little like ' I ate lunch here, then I went there, and then I went here...' wham bham whilst 10 pages talk about some Mafia story.
I would recommend buying this book only if you have a twin sister in Australia who can buy it for next to nothing on ebay.