Well first of all we got the time shagged up and a couple of the ladies came an hour late (or on-time depending on your point of view) … sorry about the mix up!!
The consensus was that this was not an easy read. Part travel memoir, the story is told amid vivid descriptions of significant places and events in Italy. Visualizing where the characters are going and what they are doing means paying attention. If you’re looking to kick back and relax with some mindless reading, this is probably is not the best choice.
Having said that…
Some of us really enjoyed Zack’s humour & quick quips which popped up throughout the book and enjoyed the story as secondary to the travelogue of Italy itself. Another felt that the story of Zack, Franco & Antonella could have been stonger & that Zack’s reactions and impressions seemed too young for a man that age. At least one member was offended to some references very early on and chose not to continue reading.
Most of us felt that it would have been very interesting to read the book from the perspective of someone who had been been to Italy and to be able to visualize the places and events being described – none in our group have been so fortunate!
As with many of the books we read and then discuss, the appreciation for a book often grows from the hearing other’s take on it. For example at one point we were discussing the reason behind Franco taking Zack on a whirlwind tour of Italy and the reason behind his periodic disappearances. We came to the conclusion that he was multi-tasking (if you’ve read the book you’ll know what we mean – if you haven’t we won’t spoil it for you!).
Once we all talked this out some of the events made a little more sense – and were pretty funny.
To help give some context to the many descriptive details in the book we played a little game. Our host Googled and printed images of 10-12 different places and events described in the Bullets, Butterflies and Italy. The goal was to be the first to figure out what significant event involving Zack occurred there.
There was a prize (a bottle of Lemoncello – which apparently tastes like kerosene according to Peggy – before she knew the prize!) but since everyone pretty much sucked at guessing the right answer we just discussed the pictures.
Any one want to drop over for some Lemoncello??
In this case we had the additional benefit of hearing from the author himself. John Meyer was very generous in recording a video for us, taking the time to answer some questions we had sent him in advance.
As we all gathered around the computer towards the end of the meeting to watch and listened to John describe his motivation for writing the book and what he hoped readers would take away from it we were like ‘wow that’s exactly how we felt!” (check out the video on our Facebook Page here and learn more on John’s website.
(check out the video on our Facebook Page and learn more on John’s website – http://www.johnmeyerbooks.com