Monday, March 2, 2009

Book Review - Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia and the Biggest Funeral in the World by Anthony Doerr

Four Seasons in Rome in the author’s personal account of a year spent in Rome in 2005 living on an American Academy Fellowship.

Doerr’s wife Shauna had just delivered twin boys and their peaceful, adult life was turned up-side down by the inclusion of two new babies. Doerr recounts the struggles and joys of their new topsy-turvy life: adjusting to twins while learning to live in a foreign country. Either one of those experiences would be daunting enough; but to combine the two was an adventure beyond his imaginings. Coming from Boise, Idaho, the cultural differences, language barriers and sheer ‘newness’ of life in Rome was fascinating fodder for a writer.

This book is poetic prose. Doerr writes with brutal honesty, charming wit and descriptive precision. I could see and feel and taste through Doerr’s words with an amazing clarity. I felt as if I, too, had experienced first hand some of the delightful and not-so-delightful adventures that the Doerrs’ shared during their year in Rome and the Umbrian countryside.

Doerr was there for the death and funeral of our beloved Pope, John Paul II. He witnessed first hand the thousands upon thousands of pilgrims who flooded into the Eternal City for what Doerr describes as the ‘biggest funeral in the history of the world’.

As someone who is planning on visiting Rome this year, I found this book to be insightful and inviting. I can’t wait to experience Rome for myself and this book has only encouraged me all the more to pursue that dream.