Friday, March 22, 2013

Incontinent on the Continent: My Mother, Her Walker, and Our Grand Tour of Italy by Jane Christmas (Audiobook review)

Incontinent on the Continent: My Mother, Her Walker, and Our Grand Tour of Italy by Jane Christmas
Post Hypnotic Press
Released on audio 2012
Narrated by Eileen Barret
Length: 8 hrs 27 mins

A funny memoir about a mother-daughter grand tour of Italy? I couldn't pass it up. It wasn't quite what I expected though, so I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall, the author is a good writer and her descriptions of the Italian sights and architectural beauty were a pleasure to listen to. Her rants about her mother, on the other hand, not so much. The author decided to take her arthritic, incontinent and domineering mother on a 6-week tour of Italy to reconcile their differences. This had her swearing and pulling her hair most of the time since Italy's best sights are not walker or wheelchair accessible and her mother kept falling asleep through most of the trip.

Apart from the whining about the bad food, the weather (cold and rainy), the indifferent Italians to her plight of having a disabled mom in tow, and the alarming discovery that her mother had aged much more than the author was aware of, I enjoyed the honest portrayal of the different areas of Italy, both southern and central. The author is a fan of ancient art, architecture and history so I learned a few things about my parents' country and my ancestors.

I understand that for the author it must have been hard to realize her mother was no longer the independent and confident woman she once was. She suddenly saw her mother's frailties and fears, and as any middle-aged woman can attest to, this is a saddening discovery about one's beloved parent. But when the author said disparaging things about her mother I cringed thinking, does her mother know she wrote a book about her in this way? I found this part of the book disrespectful, and I didn't appreciate the f-bombs that rained down or the religious expletives that spewed forth when the author was upset with her mother.

The narrator was good, capturing both the emotions of the author's voice and the proper and clipped voice of the mother. Her pronunciation of Italian places and names was not good at all, though, as half the time I couldn't quite understand which place she'd just named, and I am fluent in Italian. She was animated however, making this a lively narration.

There were some funny moments that had me smiling, but I also did a lot of frowning. I'm glad that the book ended on a positive note with the author acknowledging just how much she loved her mother and was surprisingly very much like her.

Note: This audio book is rated P = profanity for about a dozen f-bombs and some religious expletives.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: I Love Italy Personal Reading Challenge
To purchase or get more information on this audiobook, please visit Post Hypnotic Press.

 Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: Thanks to Post Hypnotic Press for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Sound Bytes is hosted by Devourer of Books, a weekly Friday meme where you can link up your audio book reviews.

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