Title: My Italian Bulldozer
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: ★★1/2
When writer Paul Stewart heads to the idyllic Italian town of Montalcino to finish his already late book, it seems like the perfect escape from stressful city life. Upon landing, however, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers his hired car is nowhere to be found. With no record of any reservation and no other cars available it looks like Paul is stuck at the airport. That is, until an enterprising stranger offers him an unexpected alternative. While there may be no cars available there is something else on offer: a bulldozer.
With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts and so begins a series of laugh out loud adventures through the Italian countryside, following in the wake of Paul and his Italian Bulldozer. A story of unexpected circumstance and lesson in making the best of what you have, My Italian Bulldozer is a warm holiday read guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
I was supremely excited for this book. I gushed about it to friends and family. I kept looking at the cover again and again (because isn’t it kinda awesome?), and kept seeing it posted on all these “Books to Look for in 2017” lists. I even recommended it to a coworker to bring with on her trip to Italy.
Then I read it.
My disappointment in this book rivals the disappointment my parents have when I do needlepoint on Saturday night. They just look at me wondering, why aren’t you out partying? Why are you wasting your youth?
Why is this book so tame?! I expected a riotous journey through the Italian countryside, but it fell flat. There were quirky moments that made me feel like I was watching a British sitcom, but they hardly got a chuckle from me. Perhaps the humor was just too subtle . . . or nonexistent. I bulldozed (aha) through the novel just to get it out of the way and move on with my life (which, according to my family, I do not actually have).
To keep myself entertained, I started picturing Martin Freeman as Paul. If it ever is adapted into a film, he would fit the part perfectly. He has that pushover appeal.
I will admit, this book is a good palate cleanser after you’ve read a dark and dreary novel. There is a simplicity and innocence to it that I find oddly charming, and I also loved the mouthwatering descriptions of food. However, this is the first and last time I recommend a book I haven’t read. Lesson learned.