Nardio Book Review
Is It Worth Your Time?
Yes. Three Months in Florence is an evocative read.
What Did You Think Without Spoiling It?
Three Months in Florence reminds me of the movie Blue Valentine where you get glimpses into the current situation between the couple and their past. It serves as an interesting dichotomy between their love and eventual distance from each other. It’s not all sad though as the main character Lena eventually re-discovers herself after the world comes crashing down around her. It can be a difficult read at points, but you definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel and eventually cheer on Lena towards the end.
Why it Works:
Lena is not necessarily a protagonist that you will love, she’s no Mary Sue by any means. In fact, there were times in the story where I just couldn’t believe what she was doing. But that’s what makes the story interesting. This is a woman on edge who is grasping at straws to keep her life together. She’s barely got a grip and as the story progresses she begins losing it more and more. Under the circumstances, it’s certainly understandable, but at the same time you can’t help but cringe at some of her actions. Her husband, Alex, almost seems more pitiable and you almost understand why he commits adultery. It’s obvious from the very first conversation that they have that the two clash. Lena seems to resent her husband because she had to give up on her dreams of being an artist and visiting Florence while it appears that her husband didn’t give up anything. It builds up to a point where her arguments against her husband seem petty and irrational. Yes, even after she learns about his affair. You can’t help but think, well maybe she was asking for it.
Of course, once she hits rock bottom it’s certainly not a pretty sight, but she begins to climb her way back up. She’s by no means completely over what happened, but we see that she is beginning to let go at the very end. It’s, for lack of a better word, uplifting. After seeing all the pain and suffering that Lena went through, many of which were semi self-inflicted, it was good to see her start to move on.
The other noteworthy part of Three Months in Florence is the inclusion of Lena and Alex’s children. Of course in real life affairs and divorces affect the children, but it has not been shown so clearly as in Three Months in Florence. The children suffer just as much if not more than Lena. Lena’s decision to confront her husband in Florence with the children also makes you begin to question her sanity. You even begin to see how the children change throughout the story, even if they don’t play as large a part in the middle of the story. It’s heartbreaking but true.
While this is certainly true of most women, it’s always interesting to see the wife/main love push all the blame on the mistress for the affair. Certainly Lena also blamed Alex to some extent, but her focus was on Alexandria. Perhaps it’s because she couldn’t spew all of her venom on the father of her children, but I always find the anger towards the mistress to be misguided. Aside from that, I didn’t really like Lena’s relationship with Marco. I think the story would have been just as interesting if there wasn’t any tension between the two.
In general, I thought Three Months in Florence was a very daring story to tell. It doesn’t show the woman persevering and being strong, though she tries. Instead, it’s about letting go, being vulnerable, breaking down and eventually finding oneself again. Definitely pick this book up when it comes out July 30, 2013.
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