In a series of vignettes, Evans describes her many embarrassing moments and triumphs with vivid emotional detail. Readers will cringe when she’s the only student with nothing to present on her first day of art school, and they’ll cheer with admiration when she drunkenly asks out her future boyfriend while standing on a table at her favorite bar. Most notably, Evans shares lessons that are hard to learn growing up in dysfunctional families: People who love each other can fight without it being the end of the world, and there are some people worth trusting.
Evans is unapologetically sexual and feminist. She paints vaginas for her art program, uses alcohol as a coping mechanism, and remains defiantly herself while learning how to mature. Her European adventure is characteristic of many a middle-class American’s self-discovery journey, but she keeps the reader turning the pages thanks to her descriptive writing (the Tuscan feasts are mouthwatering) and willingness to chronicle her own mental illness. Though it takes place (mostly) in Italy, this memoir is less about travel and culture clash and more about establishing personal identity and believing in relationships. Sensual, entertaining, and raw, Evans’s work is is a testament to global, complicated, grown-up love.
Takeaway: Evans’s raunchy feminist memoir of romance and travel will appeal to anyone who feels both jaded and hopeful and longs for a change of scene.
Great for fans of Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, Sally Rooney, Samantha Irby.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-
"Naked (in Italy) is a great read. It certainly has all of the wit and hilarious irony that M. E. has become semi-famous for from her blog Surviving in Italy, which has been entertaining English speakers who live in Italy, who formerly lived in Italy, or who dream of living in Italy, for some years now. But Naked (in Italy) also bares M. E.’s sentimental and vulnerable sides, charting not only the funny awkwardness but also the scary pitfalls of negotiating a new culture, as well as the inner struggles we all face to stay sane amid change, personal tragedy, and while we’re making all of those big life decisions like whom to marry and where to live. M. E. is expert at exposing the silliness and severity of life’s heaviest and most absurd challenges, I laughed out loud a hundred times and I finished the book in tears of joy."–Lee Foust, Florence News
"Fans of revealing and rebellious personal narratives will find a familiar friend in Evans’ open no-holds-barred style. Set against the backdrop of Florence, Capri, Rome and the Italian countryside, this is an exciting travel-memoir from a unique perspective. Through her years in Italy, Evans finds love, finds herself and shares this journey with readers in a sometimes messy, sometimes magical, always singular style.
NAKED (IN ITALY) in an engaging memoir about family trauma, artistic exploration and romance in a foreign country and author M.E. Evans’ voice is wry, rebellious and vulnerable, giving readers an exotic, exuberant front row seat to her wild graduate school adventures abroad."