Sunday, January 09, 2011

Halfway to Each Other by Susan Pohlman

I originally picked up Susan Pohlman's Halfway to Each Other because her story intrigued me, and she's appearing for Authors @ The Teague on Jan. 22.  But, I wasn't too far into the book when I fell for her beautiful writing, and began to care deeply about her family.   Susan Pohlman's memoir is a thoughtful, poignant look back at the year she and her family spent in Italy, a trip to save a marriage, a family, and to find a lost faith.

After eighteen years of marriage, Susan and Tim Pohlman were on the verge of divorce.   Tim was a successful radio executive, though, who took potential clients on trips, including a trip to Italy.  As a dutiful wife, Susan went along, thinking it would be their last trip together.  But, together, the two fell in love with Italy, and made a rash decision to sell everything, pack up their two kids, and move to Genoa for a year to try to salvage their family.  The woman who had married to the Gospel passage from Matthew 6:25-34 about reliance upon God, and how he would take care of us as well as he took care of the lilies of the field, had lost faith.  So, for one last time, she decided to listen to God's voice, and try to find the faith that her marriage and her family would survive.

In the time before Katie, 14, and Matt, 11, started school at the American International School, the Pohlmans found themselves relying on each other for companionship, spending all of their time together.  They experienced a great deal of culture shock, from differences in shopping to riding buses.  But, they came together as a family to solve problems.    And, once Katie and Matt started school, Tim and Susan had days to themselves to travel, and learn to enjoy each other all over again. 

Pohlman's book is the story of a year in a beautiful country, a place where the family learned to relax, and listen to each other.  But, she doesn't gloss over the difficulties.  The children had a hard time at first, and then a hard time leaving.  Tim and Susan took their problems with them to Italy, and had to learn to talk to each other.  But, they took their faith, and their hope for their future, and tried one last time to make it work. 

I love doorways.  I even take pictures of doorways, with the possibilities and secrets behind them.  So, the cover of Susan Pohlman's book drew me in.  Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home is everything that cover promises.   It's a journey into someone's life, a strange world behind that door.  It's a beautiful memoir, and, unlike so many popular stories, it has a happy ending.  Readers who enjoy travel memoirs might want to pick this one up. 
Susan Pohlman's website is

Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home by Susan Pohlman.  Guideposts, ©2009. ISBN  9780824947804 (hardcover), 272p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Ingrid King said...

I've been curious about this book ever since I saw the cover in your sidebar. This one is definitely going on my TBR list, it sounds wonderful.

Lesa said...

It is wonderful, Ingrid. I think you'll like it. Another librarian said those who liked Eat, Pray, Love will like it. I didn't read that, so I don't know. It's hard to compare it to Florence Mayes because she even talks about that in her book. But, I really liked this book. Gorgeous cover, isn't it?

kathy d. said...

Yes, the cover is lovely, and so are doorways in Italy. I have note cards featuring Italian doorways.

This sounds like a nice book. I can't imagine anyone not being able to rekindle a relationship among Italian art, scenery, music and food.

Lesa said...

Exactly, Kathy. And, she's coming to Velma Teague to speak on Jan.22. It will be interesting to hear her talk about their lives since returning to the U.S.