Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


****Driving Over Lemons

An Optimist in Andalucia

by Chris Stewart

Reviewed September 2001.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2001
1999.  Available at Sembach Library (regular shelves, 946.82 STE).

Here’s another book in the delightful English-speaker-moves-to-Southern-Europe genre.  This time I didn’t envy the fellow.  Scorching heat, no running water and scorpions don’t sound blissful to me.  However, by the end of the book I was charmed and was sad to end the company of this new friend in beautiful Andalucia.  (Even if in real life I don’t generally think of hot, dry climates as beautiful.)

This book had the usual ingredients of the humorous humiliation of being a foreigner, kind and generous locals showing the ropes, and quirky characters livening things up.  This time, though, the writer wasn’t a writer planning to vacation on the land.  No, Chris Stewart (who was once a drummer for Genesis) bought a farm in Andalucia with the intention of farming it.  He had to rebuild the stone walls of his house, rig up running water, and build bridges, as well as stocking his farm with sheep and finding an outlet to sell them.

This is a happy, cheering book.  It’s nice to be in the company of an optimist engaged in an interesting endeavor.  His laughs are more at his own expense than that of the people he met in Spain.  This is a book most people would enjoy. 

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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