“Only in Naples”: a true tale about my city

“Only in Naples”: a true tale about my city

Only in NaplesA few weeks ago, the cover of Only in Naples caught my eye. I’m always curious to hear what people say or write about the city I come from: Naples, Italy.

First of all, this book is a true tale about Napoli, the southern city of Regione Campania, different from the city carrying the same name, Naples, in Florida. My city has always been at the center of a lot of controversy for its beauty and conflicting forces, for its variety of scenic vistas and somewhat homogeneous local culture, for its unique pizza, mozzarella and … trash problems.

The author of Only in Naples, Katherine Wilson, is a witty genius who depicts the everyday dynamics of a Neapolitan family from Posillipo in a funny and realistic way.

Being married to a Neapolitan guy must not be an easy thing for anyone, especially for a foreign girl, an independent and rich American. It takes a crazy person to marry one of us, and maybe she’s a risk-taker. Or, simply put, she must have fallen in love with the entire package her husband offered: his family, his mother’s food, and Napoli. Not bad, if you think about it.

Katherine tells us how her three-month internship at the American consulate in Napoli leads to her rebirth and the discovery of her true Italian soul. She meets the wealthy Avallone Family from Posillipo, gets involved with Madre Raffaella, an amazing chef and housewife, whose main duty was to take care of her successful two kids. Katherine describes the ritual preparation of freshly homemade food, to be shared during the sacred moments of the day, while arguments and discussions take place. Around the table, anything can happen.

I read the book over the course of a week and reflected on each chapter and anecdote. My conclusion? The author is right! Naples is the only city where it all can happen: meeting a caring, loving future mother-in-law who introduces you to her family and passes along traditions and customs. No matter where you come from, you’re better off knowing how to make the famous pasta alla Genovese, melanzane a funghetto, gateau di patate, and so on, especially if you are married to a Neapolitan man who would die without them.

The book is really entertaining and I laughed a lot reading it. What’s normal for me is a whole different deal for strangers.

All I’m saying is that my poor American husband got to learn how to make pizza from my Neapolitan mom. Anything can happen, and only in Naples.

This is a guest post by Miki Zambella. If you’d like to submit a book for review or write a review, contact bconnolly@noiaw.org.

Above image courtesy of Random House.
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