The diary of a single parent abroad

Jill Pennington
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Genres: Humour, Non-Fiction. Format: eBook. Views: This Week 30, Total 2670.
When Jill and her family moved to Italy she expected life to change but she had no idea how massive that change would be. Shortly after the move, she discovered her husband had been having an affair and had no intentions of staying in Italy.

Despite being in a foreign country with no income, limited language skills, a house that needed rebuilding and three young children to care for, she never once considered returning to the UK. With strength and determination she accepted any challenge, dismantling a derelict house to ground level, digging out a three metre deep well with her hands to get free water and overcoming her fear of the chainsaw to cut the winter wood. When there was very little money for food she made risotto with nettles collected from the roadside. She overcame many problems learned new skills and discovered that money is not important, and the only things in life that matters are health, happiness and her children.

Jill’s story is delivered with an ever present hint of humour, because, she says, “Without laughter life wouldn’t be funny!”

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Reasonable Story, Reasonably Written, Probably Recommend, Reasonably Edited in 1 reviews.
LYNNE SPREEN : "Diary" pulled me in. I wanted to know what was going to happen. The main character, Jill Pennington, is such a likable person. She is plucky, enthusiastic, resourceful and positive, balanced by a wry sense of humor. As her fortunes decline, she keeps fighting and the reader always feels a big break is just around the corner.

Although to be honest this book could have used one more edit, it's a very enjoyable read and had the effect of inspiring me to minimize my troubles and celebrate the moment more. I enjoyed her point of view, in that her way of speaking was reflective of Yorkshire, in the UK, with all the charm of unfamiliar (to me) expressions. I also very much enjoyed reading about day-to-day life in a tiny village in the Italian countryside.

A knock on the book is that by the end I felt the author hadn't changed over the years in Italy. No insights emerged in spite of her experience. At the end, in fact, I was left with a question of what she was going to do with her new business endeavor now that her partner was leaving (again)? The ending felt rushed, as if she had tired of telling the story.

But to be fair, as the title suggests, it's a diary rather than a novel. And in fact, she's so resourceful and upbeat that I think I know the answer: she'll get by, one way or the other, with energy and good cheer. Life will not get the better of Jill Pennington. I wish her well.