Friday, June 25, 2010

Review and Giveaway: "Finding Marco" by Kenneth C. Cancellara

Mark is the CEO of a company dedicated to making fuel-efficient vehicles. When he tries to take the company in a new direction, one that will cause short-term debt, but long-term growth, the board of directors shoots him down, afraid of their stock going down for a couple of years, but unable to recognize that their denial to move forward will eventually put the company under. After much soul searching Mark determines that his ethics are being compromised, and may have been for many years, and he no longer wants to be a part of the company. Mark resigns and escapes to Acerenza, Italy, his place of birth, for refuge.

There Mark is transported back to his childhood and a place where things seem simpler and more pleasurable. He takes stock of the family vineyards, meets up with old friends, and celebrates an old-fashioned Christmas. Mark must decide if he wishes to return to Canada and join the corporate ranks once again, or if he is willing to give up his wealth and status in the pursuit of a happier future.

Finding Marco is the book of a man having a mid-life crisis. Instead of buying a new car or trading in his wife for a trophy wife, Mark longs for home. He longs for the sights and smells of his childhood, and luckily has a supportive wife and daughter who encourage him in his journey of self-discovery. That's what the underlying theme of the book is: self-discovery. Often we, as humans, become so caught up in money, and status, and the trappings of a technologically advanced world that we forget what it is like to experience the simple pleasures of life, and we forget what it is like to be truly happy. Mark finds that he is no longer happy living the status quo and decides to pursue those things that will make him a truly happy man.

I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Acerenza, Italy. I'm a bit of an armchair traveller, considering that I don't have the opportunity to travel often (and generally not as far as Italy), and I enjoyed the descriptions of the everyday life of those living there. Despite the fact that technology has been evolving there as well (in one part a friend of Mark brags that they now have cars and big-screen TV's), mules still abound, and people still take nightly strolls to talk to neighbors and "show off their finery". Doors aren't locked, and are often left wide open so that neighbors can come calling. These descriptions were enchanced by the fact that Kenneth Cancellara is actually a native of Acerenza, Italy, and could draw from his own memories while writing these descriptions.

One small problem that I had with the book was the fact that it sometimes felt like I was reading a biography, rather than fiction. I would have enjoyed more detail on the daily life of the character Mark, and I would have liked to understand his thoughts more. Instead I found that the book was very event-focused at times, which detracted at times from the story itself.

Aside from that, this was an enjoyable story of mid-life, self-discovery, and a return to roots. I recommend it to armchair travellers such as myself, or to anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to change their path in life. Thank-you to Megan at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for this review copy!

Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Armchair travellers, fiction lovers
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010

Thanks to Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists, I have two copies of Finding Marco to give away! To enter:

1. Tell me where you've always wanted to travel to. Please leave me your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win. No e-mail= no entry!

2. *Bonus Entry* Become a follower of this blog through Google Friend Connect, and leave me a seperate comment letting me know that you now follow. If you are already a GFC follower, just leave me a comment letting me know that you already follow.

3. *Bonus Entry* Spread the word about this contest, and leave me a seperate comment letting me know how you spread the word. Tweet about it, Facebook it, blog about it, whatever! Just leave me a comment letting me know what you did.

This contest is open internationally! It runs until July 16, 2010 at midnight EST, and winners will be notified by e-mail. Good luck!

21 comments:

  1. My dream vacation is Egypt, the Valley of the Kings. However, since marrying Italian, I do wish to go to Bari where his family originates.

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

    ReplyDelete
  2. Already a GFC follower.

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

    ReplyDelete
  3. tweet; http://twitter.com/fredalicious/status/17021226225

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

    ReplyDelete
  4. would like to visit the 'holy land'

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. i would love to go back to New York, the greatest city on earth
    babyjenny83@aol.co.uk

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  6. No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great giveaway!

    I've always dreamt of Norway or the Scottish lakes and castles.

    Please count me in. Thanks.

    avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've always wanted to travel to Sweden AND New Zealand. My great-grandfather immigrated here from Sweden and I used to spend alot of time listening to him tell about his childhoold. Another grandfather of mine spent alot of time in New Zealand and I was fascinated with his tales also.

    hawkes(at)citlink.net

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  9. I follow via GFC

    hawkes(at)citlink.net

    ReplyDelete
  10. I would love to go to Italy. Please include me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    Debbie
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am a new follower.
    Thanks
    Debbie
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great giveaway. A dream come true would be to travel to Israel. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  13. My dream spot would be Kyoto! Thanks for making it open to overseas readers. Very much appreciated.

    mystica123athotmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for the giveaway. I'd like to go back to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We love it there.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  15. current follower via GFC
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  16. I would love to travel through Italy and thanks for this lovely chance. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  17. I've always wanted to travel to England to have fresh Scones and Tea :)

    unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've always wanted to go to India. Thanks for entering me. I follow you.

    j.t.oldfield[at]gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Follow - GFC

    dcf_beth at verizon dot net

    ReplyDelete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  21. I forgot to show my email!

    Anyway - I always wanted to go to Greece and Irelead.

    dcf_beth at verizon dot net

    ReplyDelete