Driving Over Lemons

Driving Over Lemons - Chris  Stewart It's unavoidable making the comparison between this book and Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence. Both are memoirs by ex-Pat Brits of their relocation to bucolic parts of Southern Europe, both to be found in my neighborhood book store almost side-by-side under Travel Essays. A blurb from the Daily Telegraph even says Stewart is being talked up as "the new Peter Mayle." Fortunately Stewart compared well--in fact I liked his book quite a bit more than Mayle's. A lot of that is that I just plain liked Stewart a lot more than Mayle. Where Mayle comes across as privileged, condescending and effete, Stewart comes across as self-effacing, down-to-earth, and as another blurb put it, speaks of his neighbors with "no hint of patronage." Mayle's wife had no real presence in his book, whilel Stewart's Ana definitely makes her personality felt. While Mayle's biggest worry was getting an over-sized stone table into his home, Stewart and his wife plowed their life-savings and work hard to make their sheep farm a going concern. It was a fast, pleasant and entertaining read. I don't rate this as high as Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country--another author Stewart is compared to--because this book didn't make me laugh out loud, and it arguably isn't as informative about the history and nature surrounding them. But I certainly found this worth the read: a charmer.