Vicky Perrone is a prize-winning photographer and former photojournalist, who has gone from troubled teen to adventurer and world traveler. Along the way, she's learned about life, relationships -- and herself. In these essays, she shares her unique experiences, insights, and foibles with humor and a strong dose of self-deprecation.
Vicky's life may have been "imperfect," but it's also been fascinating. She began traveling the world before she was 10 years old, and she’s met a number of fascinating characters along the way. Many of them make appearances in her book: Mike the Spy, The Sailor Man, The Shuffler... not to mention her husband and numerous other family members. Vicky's journey has brought her through many unique experiences, from what she describes as her "criminal past" up until the present, when people say she is "living the dream."
Vicky recounts many of those tales here, in a folksy, lighthearted style. She also raises some serious questions that we all confront: about aging and mortality, love and relationships, happiness and fulfillment. Her book is a memoir, but it’s also more than that — it’s a way of looking at life.
In one word, Perrone’s work is approachable. She begins the memoir with an anecdote of locking herself outside her apartment, setting the tone for similar tales about adjusting to life in Italy. She recounts her difficulties growing up, from being raised by abusive and alcoholic parents to checking into a psychiatric ward and running away from home. She admits to her own mistakes and writes, “The only thing I can do is... try to be a better person, which I do.” But her hardships have given her profound perspective, and she believes that celebrating birthdays, always adventuring, and laughing with those she loves will help her to face whatever comes next.
At times, Perrone’s writing is so informal that the book still feels like a series of travel posts strung together. She also tells some stories as if they happened “yesterday,” which can be disorienting to the reader. Perrone comes across like a quirky grandma: readers may feel some secondhand embarrassment when she goes a little overboard, but they’ll admire her endless willingness to try something new and fun. At its best, this unconventional memoir is a glorious snapshot of a woman who has overcome a great deal and continues to welcome life with arms wide open.
Takeaway: Readers with wanderlust and a desire to get the most out of life will enjoy this adventurous grandmother’s travel blog turned playful and uplifting memoir.
Great for fans of Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle, Debbie Mancuso’s My Love Affair with Italy.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: A