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Chickens Eat Pasta

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Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all... love. Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy. “Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all... love. Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy. “Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which until recently had seemed to be just what I wanted.” Unlike some recent bestsellers, this is not simply an account of a foreigner’s move to Italy, but a love story written from the unusual perspective of both within and outside of the story. As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour. It is a story with a happy ending. The author and her husband are still married, with three children, who love the old house on the hill (now much restored) almost as much as she does. Chickens Eat Pasta is Clare’s autobiography, and ultimately a love story – with the house itself and with the man that Clare met there and went on to marry. If you yearn for a happy ending, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a story that proves anything is possible if you only try.


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Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all... love. Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy. “Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all... love. Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy. “Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which until recently had seemed to be just what I wanted.” Unlike some recent bestsellers, this is not simply an account of a foreigner’s move to Italy, but a love story written from the unusual perspective of both within and outside of the story. As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour. It is a story with a happy ending. The author and her husband are still married, with three children, who love the old house on the hill (now much restored) almost as much as she does. Chickens Eat Pasta is Clare’s autobiography, and ultimately a love story – with the house itself and with the man that Clare met there and went on to marry. If you yearn for a happy ending, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a story that proves anything is possible if you only try.

30 review for Chickens Eat Pasta

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    This memoir describes an English woman's emigration to Umbria, Italy, in the 1980s. Clare purchases a home that is in ruins in the countryside of San Massano. After the end to a long-term relationship, she decides to purchase a second home in Italy. She views a video of a place for sale and watches as the chickens eat pasta. She falls in love with the place and although does not buy that home, she does end up moving to Italy to her rundown home with the beautiful views. She ends up restoring it This memoir describes an English woman's emigration to Umbria, Italy, in the 1980s. Clare purchases a home that is in ruins in the countryside of San Massano. After the end to a long-term relationship, she decides to purchase a second home in Italy. She views a video of a place for sale and watches as the chickens eat pasta. She falls in love with the place and although does not buy that home, she does end up moving to Italy to her rundown home with the beautiful views. She ends up restoring it and becomes an active member of a small village. The characters that live in the village or the surrounding areas become her family. Angela and Ercolino become her surrogate parents and I absolutely loved them. The humour they add to the story is wonderful. Clare is able to build an ex-pat career in journalism, traveling to Rome a few times a week and sending her stories all over the world using the only phone in the village, that happens to be in the local store. The owner of the store Tito, is another humorous and fascinating character in this story. I could go on and on, but you just need to read this book. The book is very well-written and enjoyable. The descriptions of the local culture, the food, the wine and her home were wonderful and allowed me to travel vicariously through this story. This is not a description of traveling to the well-known destinations in Italy, it is the story of a small village and what it is like to live there. This story takes place in the 80s, so I am not sure it would be the same now, but this was a poor, rural area with no phones, heating by fire, cooking over open flames, no refrigeration etc. How she survived was due to the wonderful people she met as she became part of their lives and community. Of course there is the romance part of this story. When Clare meets Mario, neither of them are looking for a relationship or commitment. As their relationship develops, it is not an easy road. Two different cultures and life experiences coming together are going to have some bumps and a lot of compromise that is not always easy. Overall this is a wonderful story. There are parts that made me laugh, made me angry, made me smile and made me want to get on the next plane to Italy. I recommend this book to armchair travelers, those who enjoy interesting memoirs and those who like a nice romance with some humour thrown in. Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for supplying me with a copy of this book to read upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brigid Gallagher

    The author feels compelled to travel to Italy, to view houses in Umbria, after seeing a video of chickens eating pasta. Although she has recently come out of a long term relationship, and her family are somewhat sceptical, Clare makes the decision to buy a run down house and move to Italy. Despite her families lack of enthusiasm, she thrives in her new surroundings, and makes lots of new friends, including Angela and Ercolino, Tito the local shopkeeper... I loved her descriptions of the local The author feels compelled to travel to Italy, to view houses in Umbria, after seeing a video of chickens eating pasta. Although she has recently come out of a long term relationship, and her family are somewhat sceptical, Clare makes the decision to buy a run down house and move to Italy. Despite her families lack of enthusiasm, she thrives in her new surroundings, and makes lots of new friends, including Angela and Ercolino, Tito the local shopkeeper... I loved her descriptions of the local culture, particularly the food and wine. "Chickens Eat Pasta" was a terrific memoir, and I would love to read a sequel.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    If the title of the book doesn't grab you, the descriptions of the beautiful Italian countryside, not to mention the delicious food, most certainly will. as you might expect there are some wonderful village characters as well as some faux pas by our heroine, all of which add a touch of authenticity to the account. Although the memoir opens with the author about to leave the wonderful house she has renovated in a remote Italian village, the reader can't help hoping there will be a different If the title of the book doesn't grab you, the descriptions of the beautiful Italian countryside, not to mention the delicious food, most certainly will. as you might expect there are some wonderful village characters as well as some faux pas by our heroine, all of which add a touch of authenticity to the account. Although the memoir opens with the author about to leave the wonderful house she has renovated in a remote Italian village, the reader can't help hoping there will be a different ending. Amusing, easy to read and a great insight into the Italian way of life - which it appears mostly revolves around cooking food, eating food or talking about food, this is a lovely, escapist read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Italo Italophiles

    This memoirs describes an English woman's emigration to Umbria, Italy, in the 1980s. She purchases a ruin there, has it restored, becomes an active member of a small village, builds an ex-pat career in journalism, and falls in love with and marries an Italian. Intelligently, the author spoke Italian before emigrating, and she had a career that could move with her, with some effort: journalism. The book is very well-written, which is not surprising, since the author is a professional writer. I This memoirs describes an English woman's emigration to Umbria, Italy, in the 1980s. She purchases a ruin there, has it restored, becomes an active member of a small village, builds an ex-pat career in journalism, and falls in love with and marries an Italian. Intelligently, the author spoke Italian before emigrating, and she had a career that could move with her, with some effort: journalism. The book is very well-written, which is not surprising, since the author is a professional writer. I thought the playing around with the timeline unnecessary, though, which was likely done to create some suspense in the account. But when the book's description, and the author's biography tells the ending of the true story, the suspense is really non-existent no matter how the story is told. Her choice, that started as an adventure, quickly gets bogged down in the realities of life in impractical Italy, especially Italy in the '80s. It doesn't help that her ruin is in rural, poor, and I'm sorry to say, backward, isolated Umbria. Some of the lives she describes are painful to read about, because of the archaic nature of the values, economics and roles of women. There was one sour note in the book for me, too, when the crassness of professional journalists came through. The author states happily that she found financially lucrative the Achille Lauro hijacking, since the American Mr. Klinghoffer was murdered by the hijackers making the American press eager to buy her stories about the hijackers. The author does explain why there are so many abandoned rural properties in Italy: "Most Italians these days want something modern and clean...and they think these old places are a sign of poverty." And she shares what everyone who attempts to live in Italy for any length of time discovers: "How complicated life was in this country, where there seemed to be rules at every turn just waiting to trip you up. No wonder it was so important to have friends in the right places." Actually, the book is about many of those friends of the author. We learn that they smoothed her path in Italy quite a bit in the beginning. We also learn much about their characters, dramas, and private lives. That leads to the main thing I missed in the book, a Preface that might have explained that names had been changed to respect the privacy of the many people in the book, whose private moments are repeated for the entire world as entertainment. I've since learned that the name of the village was changed, so I'm hoping the names of people were changed too, because the thought of that not being the case makes me cringe with discomfort for those described. It does seem odd, however, that the author bothered to change the name of the village when on the ad pages for her vacation apartments that she rents out in her Umbrian villa she mentions this book about the villa's purchase. Also missing is a mention of the years covered in the book, which by my estimate are roughly the 1980s. I lived in Italy during the same period, and spent some of that time in Umbria, so I know that what the author describes is very accurate. Her memoirs act as a time-capsule of that era. The last thing I missed was an explanation of how, after thirty plus years, the author could honestly include so many minute details in her memoirs, such as dining menus and people's outfits and their precise words from conversations. Perhaps she kept a journal? Perhaps it was fictionalized? I don't know, because we're never told how the book came to exist, and to exist in such implausible detail. I don't wish this review to come over as negative, because the book was well-written, and it describes an era in Italy and Umbria that has most likely come to an end. The Internet age, and an invasion of Italy by retirees, ex-pats and tourists has quite likely brought and end to the isolation described in rural Italy. The book immerses the reader in the era and the story, peppering it with local characters and vignettes about their lives. The account of her mixed culture relationship with a Neapolitan is also very realistic, and would be an excellent warning to those women who dream of running off to Italy to marry an Italian. Relationships are difficult enough without throwing into the mix all the little misunderstandings that come about from cultural differences, and all the major roadblocks that come from interventions by families and friends who think they know best. It takes wisdom, patience and understanding on top of a strong love, to make those relationships work. Please visit my full and illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviews. http://italophilebookreviews.blogspot...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jill Robbertze

    A delightful little memoir from a brave young lady who changed her life by moving from the UK to a tiny village in Italy, bought a "fixer-upper property" and ultimately met her soul mate. I really enjoyed reading about the village characters and old-worldly lifestyle. I looked up some of the places mentioned on Google street view as I found myself absorbed into Clare's story. Be warned....lots of descriptions of delicious Italian meals which will may get you snacking !!! A well written story A delightful little memoir from a brave young lady who changed her life by moving from the UK to a tiny village in Italy, bought a "fixer-upper property" and ultimately met her soul mate. I really enjoyed reading about the village characters and old-worldly lifestyle. I looked up some of the places mentioned on Google street view as I found myself absorbed into Clare's story. Be warned....lots of descriptions of delicious Italian meals which will may get you snacking !!! A well written story that kept me engaged to the end.

  6. 4 out of 5

    June Finnigan

    A lovely Cumbrian story I live in Tuscany, which is not far away and I can really relate to Clare's wonderful characters and she paints the scenes so well. The reader is taken on an emotional journey as our English heroine searches for a new happy lifestyle after she breaks up with her boyfriend, and just maybe a little romance. June Finnigan - Writer

  7. 4 out of 5

    Angela Petch

    What about the bombonieri? Oh I loved this from start to finish! Being a British expatriate myself for six months every year with a half-Italian husband, there was so much I could identify with. Pedrick writes with great humour and understanding of Italy`s ways, but she is never sneering when she describes the maddening, at times unfathomable bureaucracy. I laughed out loud so frequently. Reading this delightful book was literally a tonic for me... I've been ill in bed all day. I started reading What about the bombonieri? Oh I loved this from start to finish! Being a British expatriate myself for six months every year with a half-Italian husband, there was so much I could identify with. Pedrick writes with great humour and understanding of Italy`s ways, but she is never sneering when she describes the maddening, at times unfathomable bureaucracy. I laughed out loud so frequently. Reading this delightful book was literally a tonic for me... I've been ill in bed all day. I started reading this morning and finished this afternoon. I highly recommend this to anybody who loves Italy. Wonderful! And it's a true story. Italy certainly weaves it's spell.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tripfiction

    Memoir set in Umbria (un etto* of Italy) Plus we talk to the author about life in Italy: http://www.tripfiction.com/memoir-set... Umbria: “…such a spectacularly beautiful place, so close to Rome in some ways and yet so very different and completely unspoilt” On a whim, Clare Pedrick decides to decamp to Umbria, giving up life as she knows it in the South of England. Triggered by the end of a relationship, it is deemed a bit of a rash response to an emotional upheaval. But once Italy gets under Memoir set in Umbria (un etto* of Italy) Plus we talk to the author about life in Italy: http://www.tripfiction.com/memoir-set... Umbria: “…such a spectacularly beautiful place, so close to Rome in some ways and yet so very different and completely unspoilt” On a whim, Clare Pedrick decides to decamp to Umbria, giving up life as she knows it in the South of England. Triggered by the end of a relationship, it is deemed a bit of a rash response to an emotional upheaval. But once Italy gets under your skin, it has you for keeps (or so it feels). It is also pretty horrible weather in November in England, another incentive to search for a property in the rugged hills above Terni. And so she finds her way to San Massano, where she buys a derelict property. Angela and Ercolino become her good supportive friends as she gradually brings her ruin back to life. Most are curious about the English woman, some try to take advantage in more ways than one, but her determination to settle into the community is admirable. As she finds her feet, she also finds work in Rome. At the same time a relationship starts to form, with a man from – of all places – Naples, not an ideal choice according the locals, as they are all mafia down there and he is more than likely to have another woman in tow. Despite this, and despite some doubts,the relationship feels strong enough to find a flat in Rome where they can both live. Throughout the book there are short chapters that indicate she will leave San Massano – we perhaps imaginemy house now bleak circumstances, or perhaps the ingrained “ways” and “traditions” of Italy become too much – but you will have to buy a copy of the book to see where life eventually takes her. For me this was much more than a memoir, I felt I was often there in the cold of her cottage, or heading down to Terni to catch the train, and eating the gloriously rendered food. There are many appetising dishes, always with incredibly fresh and aromatic ingredients that just waft off the pages. The origin of the title becomes apparent early in the book when Clare spots chickens eating, well, pasta! *un etto: equivalent to around 100gm in weight, a term commonly used throughout Italy

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This is a thoroughly enchanting and easy read. I have lived the expat life and a few of the stories brought a smile to my face as they so accurately represent a culture so similar and yet so different. Although this change of life direction scenario has been done to death, this book brings a fresh take to it. It is not high fiction of any description, but is beautifully written and poignant. It is a perfect summer read, particularly if the summer weather has been indifferent as is has this year This is a thoroughly enchanting and easy read. I have lived the expat life and a few of the stories brought a smile to my face as they so accurately represent a culture so similar and yet so different. Although this change of life direction scenario has been done to death, this book brings a fresh take to it. It is not high fiction of any description, but is beautifully written and poignant. It is a perfect summer read, particularly if the summer weather has been indifferent as is has this year (2015)in the UK.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Deborah J Miles

    I was drawn to this book by the amusing title, and the amazing cover, which made me think about holidays in the warmer Southern European climes; their ancient dwellings, quite different to our own in the UK; melodic foreign languages, spoken loudly and at speed; and ex-pats adapting to a strange new culture and way of life in an idyllic Italian Village. This book was first published in 2015, but the story is set a while before then, as the local currency is Lire with no mention of Euros. Italy I was drawn to this book by the amusing title, and the amazing cover, which made me think about holidays in the warmer Southern European climes; their ancient dwellings, quite different to our own in the UK; melodic foreign languages, spoken loudly and at speed; and ex-pats adapting to a strange new culture and way of life in an idyllic Italian Village. This book was first published in 2015, but the story is set a while before then, as the local currency is Lire with no mention of Euros. Italy adopted the Euro in 2002. While this often feels like a piece of fiction, it is British journalist Clare Pedrick's memoir, covering a time after she left a busy and bustling Brighton for life in a tranquil, and fairly isolated village in Umbria, Italy. I found the beginning rather slow going. It was difficult to remember who was who, and I could not get excited for what might come next. However, as the story progressed, snippets of information were neatly delivered, bringing to mind immediately the historical event or character it was describing before it was revealed in the text. This was the lure that captured my attention, and made me want to read on. It seems odd to me, that even in the 1980s, an entire village would be consumed with the idea that an unattached woman needed a man to be complete, but in that time and place, that is exactly how the locals felt, and the male populace, at least, had no qualms about making those feelings plain to Clare. Of course, when she does find herself a man, they find reasons, based on their own prejudices against the people of Naples, not the man, to think him unsuitable for her. My favourite comic moment was Clare discovering the 'Space Bog', but I think that says more about my sense of humour than anything else! I would say it is an interesting, amusing and well written memoir which reminded me of some significant world events of my youth. My thanks to the author for a free digital copy of this book to review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    S.J. Francis

    First off, it was the book title that caught my eye: Chickens Eat Pasta made me chuckle.. What a clever and humorous title. Inventive too. Then how the author, Clare Pedrick became interested in moving to Italy intrigued me even further. Imagine being intrigued enough by seeing a chicken eat pasta to make a move to a new place, another country. It’s exactly what this young British woman, the author did. She uprooted herself to start a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating First off, it was the book title that caught my eye: Chickens Eat Pasta made me chuckle.. What a clever and humorous title. Inventive too. Then how the author, Clare Pedrick became interested in moving to Italy intrigued me even further. Imagine being intrigued enough by seeing a chicken eat pasta to make a move to a new place, another country. It’s exactly what this young British woman, the author did. She uprooted herself to start a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy. That in itself interested this life-long traveler. I knew it was a memoir and despite memoirs not really being my thing, I had to read this one. Fortunately, I enjoyed Chickens Eat Pasta beyond the title. Why? For one thing, Chickens Eat Past was cleverly written. It probably helped that the author is a journalist. And no, it isn’t a story about chickens eating pasta. No, it isn’t a cookbook either. The story begins with the author enduring another rainy, soggy day in England, and ends with her maiden Aunt Vi asking her the logical question, “How can you buy a house just because you’ve watched a video?” Good question, which this book does a great job in answering. Fortunately, the author studied Italian at Cambridge University before becoming a reporter. The funny thing about this book is that the author moved to a town that she had no idea where it was. Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick is a romance story, an interesting and satisfying read, but instead of the typical romance between two people, it was about her romance with an old house and the warmth and colors of Italy, specifically in the beautiful town of Umbria. Having been to Italy myself a few times, I can relate. Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick is a great tale. I’d personally label it autobiography, memoir, and travel journal. I really enjoyed this book and have no hesitation in recommending it to others. If you enjoy traveling, especially from the safety and comfort of your favorite arm chair, may I suggest you take a look at Chickens Eat Pasta? Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Foy

    Clare Pedrick, sees an advertisement for property in Umbria, Italy. She is 26 years old, just out of a seven year relationship and bored with her life. Acting impulsively she flies out to Italy and is shown a ruin of a house which she buys there and then. What follows is her journey to a new and hopefully better life. Revolving around the little village of San Massano and the renovation of her house, we are transported to this rural delight, where the characters are larger-than-life, the scenery Clare Pedrick, sees an advertisement for property in Umbria, Italy. She is 26 years old, just out of a seven year relationship and bored with her life. Acting impulsively she flies out to Italy and is shown a ruin of a house which she buys there and then. What follows is her journey to a new and hopefully better life. Revolving around the little village of San Massano and the renovation of her house, we are transported to this rural delight, where the characters are larger-than-life, the scenery stunning and the food mouthwatering. I loved the characters in this book, especially Ercolino who is married to an Englishwoman, Angela. He takes it upon himself to be Clare’s father figure and his misuse of English colloquialisms is a constant source of amusement. Then there is Tito, the local shopkeeper, who is engaged in a long distance courtship of a lady called Clara: “I have my weekly phone call to Clara, and we’ve decided to talk for ten minutes this time, instead of the usual five. There’s so much to plan before we get married in October.” Food and wine are a huge part of Italian life and feature prominently in the book. The descriptions of the meals and the cooking are sumptuous. I will be using this book as a recipe book now that I have finished reading it. As Clare is busy fighting her battles with Italian bureaucracy and lecherous men, into her life walks Mario and so begins another chapter. This book is a wonderful read. The writing appears effortless, bringing to life the Italian countryside, and the bustling cities of Naples and Rome. If you have been before you are sure to recognise them, and if you haven’t you are sure to want to go. ****1/2

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    What a gem of a book. What an adventure! After her long term relationship came to an end Clare impulsively sets off to Italy where she buys a dilapidated old house in San Massano, Umbria. Her family are horrified as she gives up her job and moves to Italy. I loved her descriptions of the village and she depicts the warmth of the people and their willingness to help her settle in and become a part of their tight knit community. However there are many obstacles to overcome in renovating such a What a gem of a book. What an adventure! After her long term relationship came to an end Clare impulsively sets off to Italy where she buys a dilapidated old house in San Massano, Umbria. Her family are horrified as she gives up her job and moves to Italy. I loved her descriptions of the village and she depicts the warmth of the people and their willingness to help her settle in and become a part of their tight knit community. However there are many obstacles to overcome in renovating such a property and I’m impressed at her determination to create the home of her dreams and at her fortitude in putting up with a lack of basic amenities for quite some time. I might have gone home! Fortunately, Clare can speak Italian and this is just as well when she has to deal with the complicated Italian bureaucracy. As a journalist she was able to secure a job in Rome which helped to fund her renovations. It’s very cleverly written with extracts from a diary perhaps which show her weighing up the pros and cons of staying or returning to England. As well as all this she meets and falls in love with a man from Naples in the south of Italy. The course of true love never runs smoothly however and there are troubled times ahead. This is a wonderful and entertaining read and Clare Pedrick’s love of Italy is apparent on every page. It will make you smile and make you weep as she describes some of the village events. I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book in a WLM competition. What a super prize. I would love to read more from this author.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Pat Ellis

    Loved it. Ok I admit it - the cover of this Memoir sold it to me - I had to read it… and it didn't disappoint. ….. Italy and breath!!... a run-down house in a small village - sounds just idylic to me. The author didn't have her eye on a new relationship but she definitely wanted a challenge & a change after the last few years. ..... It's not easy fitting-into new surroundings - let alone in a different country and in a small-ish village - but the Author did and the friends she makes come to Loved it. Ok I admit it - the cover of this Memoir sold it to me - I had to read it… and it didn't disappoint. ….. Italy and breath!!... a run-down house in a small village - sounds just idylic to me. The author didn't have her eye on a new relationship but she definitely wanted a challenge & a change after the last few years. ..... It's not easy fitting-into new surroundings - let alone in a different country and in a small-ish village - but the Author did and the friends she makes come to love her and her 'english' ways - very funny. There's romance too - it's a good book and I won't give too much away...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather Jones

    To start things off...I Loved This Book! Ok, now that I got that out of the way. Chickens Eat Pasta was absolutely delightful to read. It is the autobiography of Clare Pedrick. While positioned under Biographies/Memoirs and Travel, the reader will often have to remind themselves that they are not reading a fiction novel but rather the very intimate stories of a woman in transition of life. It flows very smoothly and to me, if felt like I was on vacation, exploring the Italian countryside.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    A very enjoyable read, review to follow

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julie Morris

    Regular readers will know that I am a sucker for a good piece of non-fiction travel writing so I was really looking forward to reading this book. Now, having done so, I can say this is one of the more extraordinary travelogues that I have read. This book reads like a piece of fiction, to the extent that at times I forgot I wasn’t reading a novel. The story contained within this book is quite remarkable, even more so because it was true. I read the entire thing from cover to cover in one sitting Regular readers will know that I am a sucker for a good piece of non-fiction travel writing so I was really looking forward to reading this book. Now, having done so, I can say this is one of the more extraordinary travelogues that I have read. This book reads like a piece of fiction, to the extent that at times I forgot I wasn’t reading a novel. The story contained within this book is quite remarkable, even more so because it was true. I read the entire thing from cover to cover in one sitting on a trans-Atlantic flight and was captivated from beginning to end. The author took the kind of risk most of us imagine taking only in our wildest dreams, and at an age where it would be unthinkable to the majority of us. She embarks on a project that would be daunting to the most seasoned property developer in a remote corner of Italy, alone in a place where women are still seen to need a man to look after them. I was quite staggered by the gumption this must have taken and was firmly rooting for everything to work out for her from the outset, particularly as most people seemed to think she couldn’t do it. The author’s long experience as a journalist shows in her writing, as she manages to pick out the most interesting and illuminating episodes from her adventure, and draw them with a clear eye for detail and bringing the people, the landscape and the atmosphere of Italy fully to life. I think you can tell from reading it that she is used to writing shorter pieces, as the narrative does jump around in places, but I personally did not find that this detracted at all from the narrative and immersion in the story for me. By the time I have finished the book, I felt that I knew the author and the other inhabitants of this tiny, mountain top village intimately. I mourned with them, I celebrated with them. I could taste the food, feel the heat of the sun, smell the warm earth, hear the birds in the trees. It was a fully sensory experience and I really enjoyed immersing myself in that world. If you would like to take a non-fiction journey to the rural heart of Umbria, and indulge in a true-life love story at the same time, this is the book for you. A great piece of writing that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    By far the majority of my reading is made up by works of fiction – I can’t remember the last time I read either a memoir or autobiography, but I’m so glad I read this one. Quite beautifully written, the author takes you with her on her impulsive adventure, buying the dilapidated house she falls in love with, experiencing with her all the joys and challenges of her new life as a young single woman amid the traditional community that she brings so vividly to life. Her own story is totally By far the majority of my reading is made up by works of fiction – I can’t remember the last time I read either a memoir or autobiography, but I’m so glad I read this one. Quite beautifully written, the author takes you with her on her impulsive adventure, buying the dilapidated house she falls in love with, experiencing with her all the joys and challenges of her new life as a young single woman amid the traditional community that she brings so vividly to life. Her own story is totally enchanting as establishes her new home in San Massano, fights off the advances of the local men and wrestles with Italian bureaucracy. But this book exceeded my every expectation in the way it brought to life the many characters she encounters – her supportive friends Angela and Ercolino (loved his outspoken opinions and his mangled English!), Tito the shopkeeper and his courting of Clara, the occasional villains, and the feuding mothers and their wonderful extended families whose lives she becomes part of. And when she finally finds the boyfriend the whole community feel she needs so much, she chooses a man from Naples – to their total consternation. The romance is beautifully handled – a rather lovely old-fashioned courtship, but with a particularly rocky road to their final happy ending. I really enjoyed the insights into life in rural Italy, the many cultural differences (and those things we have in common), and for a foodie and wine drinker this book is an absolute mouth-watering delight. And I must say that this is a book that’s just crying out for a sequel – I’d love to know more about what happened later for Clare and Mario, and in the lives of the wonderful cast of characters whose company I so enjoyed. I thoroughly enjoyed this one…

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Whitham (curled_up_with_a_good_book)

    This is a beautiful story of a woman’s ambition to find something more in life. Clare sees an advert on TV (where chickens eat pasta!) and on a whim, flies out to look for a new life. She buys herself a house in a little Italian village and starts renovating. But not only does she have to get used to the Italian way of life, but also village life! We meet some absolute characters in this book, people that you would genuinely love to meet! I have to say I was slightly jealous reading this because This is a beautiful story of a woman’s ambition to find something more in life. Clare sees an advert on TV (where chickens eat pasta!) and on a whim, flies out to look for a new life. She buys herself a house in a little Italian village and starts renovating. But not only does she have to get used to the Italian way of life, but also village life! We meet some absolute characters in this book, people that you would genuinely love to meet! I have to say I was slightly jealous reading this because if I were to move away somewhere it would be Italy! The food and wine in the story all sound amazing, and make your mouthwater….especially if you’re hungry! And then there is the romance. I loved reading about her and her husband meeting and the things they go through together, it’s wonderful to have a happy ending! But there are some emotional moments in this book too so don’t think it’s all rainbows and sunshine! This truly is a feel good story, made even more special knowing that someone has lived this and it’s true! This story will have you smiling, crying and laughing, and wishing you could be there eating the amazing food too! It just confirms to me that I NEED to visit Italy at some point in my life….the sooner the better!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robert Fear

    Beautifully crafted words and crisp narration I was lucky to win a copy of this audiobook in a competition. In the past, I had issues listening to books. Either I found the narrator difficult to follow or the story not compelling enough to finish. This audiobook was an exception, and I loved it. An enthralling memoir, it is narrated in a very professional way. I enjoyed following Clare Pedrick’s story of how, after a relationship breakup, she bought a house in Umbria and left her life in England to Beautifully crafted words and crisp narration I was lucky to win a copy of this audiobook in a competition. In the past, I had issues listening to books. Either I found the narrator difficult to follow or the story not compelling enough to finish. This audiobook was an exception, and I loved it. An enthralling memoir, it is narrated in a very professional way. I enjoyed following Clare Pedrick’s story of how, after a relationship breakup, she bought a house in Umbria and left her life in England to live there. Words are beautifully crafted, and the crisp narration adds an extra dimension to Clare’s story of settling into a new life abroad and the challenges she faces. Colleen MacMahon brings Clare’s characters to life and gives the individuals their own recognisable traits and accents. This is an audiobook to savour at your leisure and is easy to pick up after a break. I listened to it over a period of three weeks and never had to recap any of the earlier chapters. The narration was so strong it stayed with me and I looked forward to listening to each new chapter. If I could give this audiobook 6 stars, I would. Highly recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    FNM

    Thank you to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review I have to say I’m usually pretty bad when it comes to immediately picking books because of their cover, for this book though I knew I wanted to read this book due to the title! (Not to say I wouldn’t have picked because of the cover, I really love the imagery of the house!) Then I realized it’s a memoir about moving to Italy and I immediately canceled all plans for the evening. Thank you to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review I have to say I’m usually pretty bad when it comes to immediately picking books because of their cover, for this book though I knew I wanted to read this book due to the title! (Not to say I wouldn’t have picked because of the cover, I really love the imagery of the house!) Then I realized it’s a memoir about moving to Italy and I immediately canceled all plans for the evening. This is a great memoir of making the huge change to moving out from everything you know and starting afresh, we follow Clare as she moves to Umbria, buying a fixer-upper of a house and starting her life. I absolutely adored the descriptions of not only Italy itself but of all the incredibly mouthwatering food. It also gave a great depiction of the culture of Italy and meeting all of the characters was a delight. It did get off to a bit of a slowish start but things really picked up and I completely lost myself in the story. A really great four star read! Rating: 4/5 Would I read again: Yes Would I Recommend: Yes Would I read another book from this author: Yes

  22. 5 out of 5

    L.S.

    This was such a fun read for me, having had a similar experience. I was totally absorbed in Clare's world, I recognised the people she met, the endless bureaucracy that was involved in living abroad, the challenges of getting things done, and the absolute charm and curiosity of her new neighbours. These were people who welcomed her with open arms, yet remained a little cautious by her strange ways (I loved Tito and his bamboozled state when she would send her articles 'down the wire' at his This was such a fun read for me, having had a similar experience. I was totally absorbed in Clare's world, I recognised the people she met, the endless bureaucracy that was involved in living abroad, the challenges of getting things done, and the absolute charm and curiosity of her new neighbours. These were people who welcomed her with open arms, yet remained a little cautious by her strange ways (I loved Tito and his bamboozled state when she would send her articles 'down the wire' at his store and not even rack up any kind of bill at the end of it)With great neighbours, who became life-long friends - Ercolino and his aitches, being one of my favourites - she might have felt alone, but they didn't desert her when she needed help. This whole story was a wonderful example of community spirit, especially the gatherings for weddings and funerals.The author entertained us with fabulous characters, the kind you just could't make up. It was like an episode of the Dingles in Umbria! I loved it!Vivid imagery really brought the settings to life, I could easily visualise Clare zipping along those winding streets in her Cinquecento (which just happens to be my most favourite car right now).And then there's the food! Who can read a book about Italy, and not drool over the endless feasts where one and all come together to celebrate, grieve, sing, dance, cry and laugh ( not forgetting the hilarious squabbles between Generosa and Settima, and the missing artichokes from the vegetable patch)And through it all, Clare fell in love not only with her house, but the people, their customs (despite the cultural differences at times) and also with the man of her dreams.A feel-good story that really resonated with me; it made me smile, sigh and occasionally squirm, but the overwhelming effect was to appreciate Clare's story - the Good Life in all its simplicity, at a time when the world wasn't quite so small as it is today.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Parker

    Tantalizing The author’s prologue states, “following your instincts often leads to happiness, even if it doesn’t mean taking the easiest path you could have chosen. And indeed, when Claire bought a centuries-old house in Umbria, Italy, after watching a video—it seemed the perfect recipe for disaster. It meant leaving Brighton, England, and her job, which she had always loved. Her decision also signaled arriving at an ancient, crumbling house as a twenty-six-year-old single “signorina,” which Tantalizing The author’s prologue states, “following your instincts often leads to happiness, even if it doesn’t mean taking the easiest path you could have chosen. And indeed, when Claire bought a centuries-old house in Umbria, Italy, after watching a video—it seemed the perfect recipe for disaster. It meant leaving Brighton, England, and her job, which she had always loved. Her decision also signaled arriving at an ancient, crumbling house as a twenty-six-year-old single “signorina,” which brought single and married men alike flocking to her with offers to assuage her loneliness. However, Claire was not lonely, nor was she seeking a relationship. She had simply fallen in love with the ancient stone house on top of the hill overlooking the village of San Massano, and with the warm, carefree Italian lifestyle. The author fills the pages with comedy, tragedy, hardships—even danger—as she pens a book as tantalizing as its title, “Chickens East Pasta.”

  24. 5 out of 5

    J. A. Lewis

    When I started this book, I thought it was a Memoir. A few chapters in, I decided it was just fiction. When I finished it, I read reviews on it and realized it was an autobiography. I kept waiting for something significant to happen, but it really never did. I thought this was going to be more about the renovation of the old house and while there was some mention of things done, it didn't seem to be about this. Then when she started dating her husband, their relationship just seemed odd to me. When I started this book, I thought it was a Memoir. A few chapters in, I decided it was just fiction. When I finished it, I read reviews on it and realized it was an autobiography. I kept waiting for something significant to happen, but it really never did. I thought this was going to be more about the renovation of the old house and while there was some mention of things done, it didn't seem to be about this. Then when she started dating her husband, their relationship just seemed odd to me. Lackluster, no real emotion. Many of the characters in the book seemed to have similar names and if I set the book down for any number of days, I struggled to remember who was whom. This wasn't my favorite read; however, it was nice to know the couple is still married with several children.

  25. 5 out of 5

    J. A. Lewis

    I had thought I was reading a memoir. After I started the book, I thought it was just fiction. Then when I finished it, I see it's an autobiography. There's something for everyone, but I just couldn't get into this. I struggled to keep the different town's people straight. If I put it down for more than a few days, I really had a hard time remembering who was who. It dragged. It didn't seem to be going anywhere. Even the relationship between the author and her future husband seemed to drag. I had thought I was reading a memoir. After I started the book, I thought it was just fiction. Then when I finished it, I see it's an autobiography. There's something for everyone, but I just couldn't get into this. I struggled to keep the different town's people straight. If I put it down for more than a few days, I really had a hard time remembering who was who. It dragged. It didn't seem to be going anywhere. Even the relationship between the author and her future husband seemed to drag. However, I see Mrs. Pedrick is still married with several children so I'm glad it worked out for her.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alison Eden

    A delightful autobiography/memoir of the author that was well written and easy to read Living in Umbria myself I was excited to read it and could relate to a lot of the issues and bureaucracy that Clare faced. A little old (Italy still had the Lira!) but an enjoyable read nevertheless. It was good to read that Clare is still happily married and living in Italy (hopefully to Mario!!)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan Adler

    Fun, happy, charming adventure I will not spoil the ending for others

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sandra McKenna

    Yes, I was intrigued by the title, but did struggle to read it in one go. The book is based on Clare's move to Italy, buying and restoring a run-down house in Umbria.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

    Chickens Eat Pasta is the memoir of Clare Pedrick detailing her life as she came out of a relationship break up and on something of a whim bought a run-down house in Italy. She fell in love with the place after seeing a video of chickens eating pasta in a hall in Italy and she immediately makes plans to go there! I was drawn to this audio book as soon as I saw the gorgeous cover, and once I read the blurb I started listening immediately! This is a gorgeous book that really draws you in to Clare’s Chickens Eat Pasta is the memoir of Clare Pedrick detailing her life as she came out of a relationship break up and on something of a whim bought a run-down house in Italy. She fell in love with the place after seeing a video of chickens eating pasta in a hall in Italy and she immediately makes plans to go there! I was drawn to this audio book as soon as I saw the gorgeous cover, and once I read the blurb I started listening immediately! This is a gorgeous book that really draws you in to Clare’s story from the very start. I could see how she decided to move to Umbria without a huge amount of thought and planning – it can feel irresistible to make changes after life has turned out different than you expected. You know from the blurb that things work out for Clare in Italy but whilst I was listening I was so caught up in her life as it was being recounted that I felt I didn’t know how her story would end. I was enthralled by her relationships with the locals, and her romantic interest. There are also some mouth-watering descriptions of food throughout this book that made me want to seek out some recipes! The narrator of this audio book is Colleen MacMahon and she does a wonderful job. The brilliant writing by Clare combined with the excellent narration by Colleen really give this memoir life. All the characters, and the description of the place were so vivid and I adored it. As a side note I discovered on twitter that Colleen also painted the stunning picture that is the cover image on this book! If you don’t often read non-fiction, this would be a perfect place to start because it reads with the ease of fiction and you do get completely absorbed in the Clare’s story. Chickens Eat Pasta made me feel like I was right there with Clare in Umbria, it gave me such a vivid and evocative depiction of the place and the people. I loved listening to this book and I miss it now I’ve finished it. I can’t travel anymore but listening to this book gave me some wonderful escapism and I adored it. I definitely recommend this book. This review was originally posted on my blog https://rathertoofondofbooks.com

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chitra Iyer

    This book is an autobiography of the author, Clare Pedrick. Now, I don't usually read autobiographies; it is not my cup of tea but this one particularly interested me. The title is catchy enough but other than that, the mere mention of Italy, particularly the rural side, made me want to read it. Just out of a relationship, the author is looking for a change from her boring routine in England. She watches a chicken eating spaghetti on TV (hence the title) and when in the newspaper she finds This book is an autobiography of the author, Clare Pedrick. Now, I don't usually read autobiographies; it is not my cup of tea but this one particularly interested me. The title is catchy enough but other than that, the mere mention of Italy, particularly the rural side, made me want to read it. Just out of a relationship, the author is looking for a change from her boring routine in England. She watches a chicken eating spaghetti on TV (hence the title) and when in the newspaper she finds Italian properties for sale, she decides to move to the village, Umbria, in Italy. She resigns her job and travels to Italy. She buys a ruin of a house there and goes on to develop it. The book talks about the challenges she faces as an outsider while renovating her house and how she deals with the rural Italian people. Although it takes time, she begins to adjust to the Italian customs and ends up making many new friends there, who help her in many ways. She also manages to get back to her journalism career. During her time there, she falls in love with an Italian and goes on to marry him, with whom she is now happily settled in Italy. For an autobiography, I didn't expect it to be this good. I had to remind myself that it was not a work of fiction! The story travels in various timelines but the writing is flowy and smooth, nevertheless. Italy comes alive, especially the rural part, which the author successfully paints in great detail for us. The green hills and scenic beauty is beautifully described in the book. The way of life of the rural Italians in the 80's is described well although I am not sure if it remains the same today. Overall, a well written book that transports you to Italy and surrounds you with the nitty gritties of the author's life back then. A nice, cozy read that I recommend.

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