Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: How to Love an American Man

'How to Love an American Man'
Author: Kristine Gasbarre

Format: ARC
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks; Aug. 2011
Pages: 304
Genre: Memoir
Grade: B
Source: LibraryThing EarlyReveiwers

Synopsis: An endearing and unforgettable memoir of love, self-discovery, and enduring, old-fashioned values.
Kristine Gasbarre made a New York career of dating driven, inaccessible men. When she realizes her love life will never result in happiness if she continues on the same path, she makes a big decision—relocating to Italy to discover her roots and find out what defines her adoring grandpa. But upon receiving the news of his sudden passing, she is lured away.
With nowhere left to go, Krissy returns to her small hometown for the first time in a decade to help care for her grandmother—a refined, private matriarch suffering from early dementia along with the loss of her husband. In her reluctant agreement to share the nearly lost love stories and transformative lessons from her rich sixty-year marriage, Krissy’s grandma becomes the one offering comfort as she coaches her granddaughter through the fear of loving. Grandma’s unapologetic femininity and secret giving spirit opens Krissy’s eyes about relationships, teaching her the single most important requisite for loving a man: first a woman has to learn the power of her own inner beauty.

My Take: Make no mistake, I love memoirs. I have just finished two in as many weeks. They may be wildly different, but I can't get enough of learning how other people live. More than likely it's to see if I live like them or if I live differently then them. I rarely read celebrity memoirs. I read memoirs that speak to me somewhat. These non-fiction books about real people, I want them to usually be about real people that I would relate to. Perhaps even be friends with.

What we have in my latest memoir read is Kristine Gasbarre as she takes us on her journey of How to Love an American Man. I enjoy a good love story as much as the next gal. While reading this book, I was reminded of a similar dating memoir I read last year: 51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life by Kristen McGuiness (click on title for my review). In much the same way as 51/50, there is something so universally cringe-worthy about dating mishaps and break up scenes that you want to stop reading but you can't look away.

When the story opens, Gasbarre is in her mid-twenties living the single life in New York and finding it hard to meet a decent man. Then one night she stumbles on Adam in a bar. A dashing Englishman that she feels an instant connection with. The problem? He is about to go back home. She decides to soon go off to Italy for a nannying job, but the real reason is to be closer to him. Cringe! She barely knows the guy and she is moving to Europe. Yikes! Now, these feelings from me are coming from a woman who did many desperate things for men in her day so don't think I am sitting on any high horse. Because I am not. But that would be a different blog. Sadly, this relationship doesn't work out and to rub salt in the wound, her beloved grandfather passes away.

Gasbarre moves home to be closer to her family and heal her own broken heart, while helping her grandmother heal hers. Now, let me stop the review here. From this point on, if I were to tell too much more of the story it would give the whole book away. I don't want to do that but I will say this: it is a turning point in the memoir and a point in which makes me have a love/hate relationship with the book. The love part is this: this is one of those books that will make you cherish your grandparents like no other. I am blessed to still have all of my grandparents in my love except for one sorely missed Grandpa Bob. I love them all and talk to them on a regular basis. The love Gasbarre has for her grandma and the relationship they have is so sweet. What I didn't like is this (I think hate is a bit of strong word): the American man she ultimately falls for I think treats her like crap for most of the book yet everyone is rooting for him. I just don't get it! I can not get behind a love story where I don't like the hero. I just can't.

However, at the end of the day, I can say that I appreciate the words of wisdom contained within and think this would make a fabulous book for a book club discussion because it clearly brings up some strong feelings in me! So, if you liked this book, tell me what you thought of it!

Cover Lust: Honestly, I think it's just ok. I don't think there was ever a tea kettle mentioned but whateves :)


  1. I loved your review....makes me want to read it for sure! I love, love memoirs and feel the same way you do about them as you wrote exactly what I feel!

  2. I wanna be in a bookclub now ;) I need to read books that can be discussed

  3. I love a good memoir too. I never really knew my grandparents, I'm sad to say. Both of my grandfathers passed away before I was born and I lost my last grandmother when I was 8.

    1. Oh I am sorry! You might really enjoy the grandparents in this book then.

  4. I don't read many memoir's but I would love to explore the genre. I think this one sounds really good.

  5. This was one of my favorite reads last year -- like you, I really loved and related to Gasbarre's relationship with her grandparents. That closeness with her family was what really cinched this one for me, though I can understand your beef with her love interest at the close of the story!

  6. I've been reading a lot of memoirs lately, too. I've been wanting to read this one, especially because of her relationship with her grandparents. I really do need to get this one.

  7. You know what? In all the times I've come across this book, I never noticed the "true story" subtitle. I must be in a daze.

    What you said about the guy she eventually falls for makes me mad! I don't like to read about women being treated poorly by men. I know it happens, but I don't like it.


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