My Italian Bulldozer
by Alexander McCall Smith
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.
You guys know by now, my obsession (it’s love, really) for all things Italian or even in general travel. So, of course, I picked up this book!
I really liked the way the story slowly settled in. It wasn’t too adventurous but it had enough adventure for it to not be boring. Overall, I really loved parts of the book. The people in the village were the ones that really made me interested in the book, if I am being completely honest. I mean, sure Paul is a great guy and all that but the thing, I could never connect to him? That’s not to say he isn’t well written, he is, just not for me.
His history with his ex-girlfriend, the connection he feels with Anna and the way Gloria was throughout the book, none of it sat well with me but hey! By the end of the book, I was more interested in what was happening to Onesto and Stefano than Paul but that’s ok. That’s one way to look at it.
There’s this exchange between Stefano and Onesto that I found, for some reason, absolutely funny.
“They are just people, same as anywhere,” said Stefano. “We shouldn’t condemn them just because of where they come from.”
“But where you come from makes you what you are,” argued Onesto. “If you are born in a stable, that makes you a horse.”
“Our Lord was born in a stable,” observed Stefano.
“I am not talking about him,” snapped Onesto. “I am talking about Sicily.”
God knows why but I laughed out loud, in a quiet room where my father was also reading. He looked up at me and just rolled his eyes. He’s used to me laughing for ‘no apparent reason’. I am not sure if I should be worried about that or not. But that’s not the topic at hand!
In any case, the book is a really pleasant read. The bulldozer plays a more active part than I had realised. It’s a fun little book if you can ignore some things. (Hint: It’s Paul related things. OMG. I should stop this, I know but ugh, I just couldn’t relate? or even sympathise with him. )
It might not be the greatest of the books but this one is a pretty solid read. If you want something light and yet, with some drama, love overflowing for Italy, food-related then this is the book for you. There are some good and deep moments but they are scattered lightly, it is a book, you pick up one afternoon and read and fall asleep and dream of Italy once you have finished. (If that made sense.)