The Diary of a Single Parent Abroad – Jill Pennington
I began this book after supper one day expecting to read for a couple of hours and then put it down to go to sleep. Instead I welcomed the new day, with the lightening sky as I finished the last chapter. I did not expect to be captivated by this story but needless to say, I was.
I have read quite a few accounts of people living abroad and, in fact, that is how I spent the first 20 years of my own life. What I didn’t expect is to become so involved with this writer and her children and the people who surround her in her adopted country, Italy.
Because this is a memoir I try to stay away from commenting on particular characters as they are real people, living and breathing humans (well some of them are). Let me just say that, in my opinion, this writer faced some amazing challenges with grace, humour and maybe a glass or two of wine.
I admire her ability to keep the health and welfare of her children at the forefront of each of her decisions. Hard to do when all the decisions and responsibilities fall onto a single set of shoulders. I admire her ability to find something to laugh about when other, more violent options, might feel preferable. In general, through some very trying times, our author raised 3 children from childhood to the cusp of their adult lives. We each make choices, that in hindsight we would change in the future, but that is never an option and we continue to make the best of each situation. It seems to me that this writer is very good at doing that.
I enjoyed learning about the renovation of two very different types of home. Being introduced to life in rural Italy, not one of the countries that I lived in though we did visit. Ms. Pennington’s prose allowed me to absorb some of the native beauty of the country that she chose to call home. Her love of her new lifestyle, despite all the challenges, shows throughout the tale. I wish the book had continued but am glad that there is a forum to keep “in touch” this this brave and amazing woman.