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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Running Away to Home: Our Family's Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came From, and What Really Matters » User review

An Escape Into Past that Will Change the Future for One Family...

  • Dec 19, 2011
Rating:
+3

I love the books that come out of an inner drive to find something that is missing in life. The ones where the author connects into that empty spot and discovers something about him/herself that leaves him/her forever changed.

Running Away to Home finds a family from urban middle America, living their materialistic, busy-all-the-time-lives. Running to and fro, accomplishing little, constantly striving for that one elusive thing.

Jennifer Wilson is a travel writer, and she and her husband have always dreamed about a sabbatical somewhere exotic. Jennifer's ancestors are from war-scarred Croatia. So. They head to Croatia to encounter life as it might have been had her family never come to the states.

What they discover is vastly different than life in Urban Iowa. A life where folks are still identified by the political leanings of their parents and grandparents. A place where drinking is an art and maybe the only way to deal with memories for so many. A land where organic is a must rather than a luxury, where neighbors congregate to celebrate, where food and friendship is offered with no strings, where Wilson's family feels embraced and changed.

I would've loved to share some of the reentry issues the Wilson family faced. Maybe there will be a follow up.

This is a fascinating and poignant travelogue. A look at choices folks make that impact generations, and choices that must be made. It's not an easy read. They encounter a raw beauty and Wilson doesn't sugar coat her struggles or the struggles of others.

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December 21, 2011
I agree with Djevoke on this one.
 
December 20, 2011
What an intriguing and inspirational read! Thanks for sharing.
 
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About the reviewer
Kelly Klepfer ()
Ranked #59
Member Since: Feb 11, 2009
Last Login: Jun 8, 2012 02:25 AM UTC
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Praise for Running Away to Home:
 
"In thinking about her suburban life, epitomized by refereeing two arguing kids in a Target shopping cart whilst balancing a Starbucks, Wilson think, “if this is the American dream it kinda sucks.” To refocus her family and connect with ancestors, she uproots her Iowa household and relocates to the mountainous, two-road village of Mrkopalj, Croatia. For the next four months, they adjust to the Balkan speed of life, in which rooms scheduled for completion in four days remain unfinished for weeks, meals of meat come with a side of meat, a language of consonants is marked with guttural accents, and they discover what they’d lost in the melee of their breakneck American lives: family. Wilson’s memoir isn’t so much about assimilating to Croatian culture as it is about finding family and, therefore, acceptance in unlikely places. A fun-filled, revealing peek into the Croatian countryside nevertheless, it will be enjoyed by travelogue lovers and admirers of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence (1989) and Frances Maye’s Under the Tuscan Sun (1996).—Katharine Frank"
--Booklist

"Many Americans long for a family trip around the world or a stint abroad. Travel writer Wilson, her architect husband, and their two small children spent a family sabbatical in Mrkopalj, Croatia, an unlikely destination for most folks but the birthplace of Wilson's great-grandparents. Wilson and family arrived in the village ...
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