Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review: Only in Spain: A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir about Food, Flamenco, and Falling in Love by Nellie Bennett


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
In search of herself, Nellie Bennett fell passionately in love...with the land of flamenco
One day, Nellie Bennett falls in love with flamenco in a Sydney dance studio. Tired of her boring retail job and longing to get closer to the authentic experience, she packs her suede dance shoes and travels to Seville, Spain. What Nellie didn't realize is that flamenco is not just a dance; it's a way of life. While there, she falls in love three times-with a smoky-eyed dance teacher, a tempestuous Gypsy, and with a handsome Basque chef-only to discover that it's the country that's held her heart all along.

MY TAKE:
There were two main reasons I was curious about this book: one, I have Spanish ancestors and two, I thought this would be in the vein of Eat, Pray, Love.

In Only in Spain: A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir about Food, Flamenco, and Falling in Love, Nellie Bennett decides on a whim to enrol in flamenco classes. After falling in love with the dance, she decides to head to Seville and dance flamenco there. One thing leads to another, and before she knows it, she decides to set up a new life in Spain.

If this book and Eat, Pray, Love were your siblings, then Eat, Pray, Love would beyour older, self-deprecating, introspective sister, and Only in Spain would be your vivacious, slightly irresponsible younger sister. As far as memoirs go, this one is a mostly happy one.

The author's flamenco and Spanish adventure reads like a letter from a close friend. If you've never learned flamenco but want to take a peek into that particular world, you'll find that this is a pretty good way to get acquainted with the dance.

The things that I enjoyed most about the book were the descriptions of the food and her life in Spain and her last two romances. My country was a former Spanish colony and much of their influence still remains in the language, culture and food. Here in the Philippines, Holy Week (also known as Semana Santa here) is also a big deal and Metro Manila usually empties out or becomes relatively quiet as people use the long holiday to head to their provinces and celebrate Holy Week there. Of the Spanish food Nellie enjoyed, my favorite is the churros. The fried dough dipped in chocolate is absolutely delicious when piping hot. As for the romances, well, her romance with the gypsy was hilarious, while her romance with the chef was sweet and seemed like a good movie plot.

Overall, while I may not have agreed or done some of the things that Nellie has done, I couldn't help but cheer for her. She's likable, if a bit impulsive, and her adventures most definitely make for a good story.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the e-ARC. Publication of Only in Spain: A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir about Food, Flamenco, and Falling in Love is on July 1, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. Nellie is likable.
  2. The writing tone is fun and not tedious to read.
  3. It's easy to imagine everything described in the book.

THE BAD:

  1.  Nellie can seem a bit too romantic sometimes.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
And when your heart wants that, what can you say, but... Well, why don't you?
READ IT IF:

  1. You dream of going to Spain.
  2. You like or are interested in flamenco.
  3. You're looking for a fun memoir to read.

RATING:
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