beka stays intelligent : how to love an american man

Every time I say the title of this book I feel obligated to add, “and it’s not as racey as it sounds!”

But really, it’s not as racey as it sounds.

I selected this book first for the one book a month goal based on Jenna’s glowing review on Eat, Live, Run. Here’s the synopsis, from the publisher:

Krissy Gasbarre made a New York career of dating driven, inaccessible men. Her solution—relocationg to Italy for her new English beau and to research the background of her lovably alpha-male, Italian-American grandfather—seemed perfect, until her boyfriend took off for the Middle East…and her grandpa suddenly passed away.

With nowhere left to go, Krissy returned to her small hometown for the first time in a decade to help care for her grandmother—a refined, private matriarch suffering early dementia along with the loss of her husband. In her reluctant agreement to share the nearly-lost love stories and transformative lessons from her rich, 60-year marriage, Krissy’s grandma became the one offering comfort as she coached her granddaughter through the fear of loving and being let down. Grandma’s unapologetic femininity and secret giving spirit would open Krissy’s eyes about relationships, teaching her the single most important requisite for loving a man: first a woman has to learn the power of her own unique beauty.

Like any other sensible female, I was intrigued by Krissy’s hot doctor love interest story of self-discovery (but the hot doctor didn’t hurt the plot, either). I think it’s hard to be a girl in 2012. Sometimes it seems as if there are only two prototypes for today’s successful woman: the CEO or the model. You’ve truly arrived if you have a powerful position of authority or a face/body that lands you on a magazine cover. There are, of course, many exceptions to this rule (just look at all of the wonderful things the Making Things Happen ladies are doing!). And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a CEO or a model. But it can be discouraging at times to see some of the most important traits women possess becoming less and less valued.

Those facts made reading Grandma Glo’s perspective on love all the more refreshing. What stood to me the most were the elements of self-sacrifice so absent from our culture, the idea that you have to know yourself first before you dive headfirst into knowing someone else, and that real femininity is not weakness. It is, in fact, the opposite. Also refreshing: the resurfacing of strong, decisive, caring men. We’ve missed you here in the 21st Century.

This book is a great read for anyone who wants an antidote to the cultural message that women need to be aggressive, in love or any other endeavor. As a popular song states, “Love is not a fight, but it’s something worth fighting for.”

Thanks, Krissy (and Grandma Glo!) for sharing your story. It was a great way to kick off 2012!

(And thanks for being a writer who graduated from college and traveled and nannied and moved back home while struggling to find work. It helps me sleep at night.)

P.s. I’m undecided for a February book. Thoughts?


3 thoughts on “beka stays intelligent : how to love an american man

  1. Pingback: beka stays : january recap | beka stays

  2. I know what book you should read. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krause Rosenthal. I feel like there’s a chance you’ve read it but if not, it’s great. I just finished it (got it from Meagan O’Hearn).

    • i literally JUST added that to my list a few days ago! i’ve heard so many good things about it…can’t wait! but i think you’ll approve of my february pick – one of coach wooden’s memoirs! there you go: already fulfilling the request for more basketball. i’m here to please.

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