Running Away to Home: Our Family’s Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came From, and What Really Matters

Jennifer Wilson, Photographer
Jennifer Wilson. St. Martin’s, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-59895-2
Reviewed on: 08/22/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-8908-4
Paperback - 334 pages - 978-1-250-01401-6
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After the 2008 crash wiped out half of her family’s investments, 30-something freelance writer Wilson finally decided to do something about her growing dissatisfaction with her overscheduled, materialistic Starbucks existence. In her funny and heartfelt memoir, she packs up her husband and two young children from Des Moines, Iowa, with the plan to live a simpler, more connected life in the ancestral home in Croatia and to learn about her immigrant story. A century after her maternal great-grandparents left, Wilson and her family arrive in Mrkopalj (MER-koe-pie), near the Adriatic Sea. It’s home to 800 people, many of whom only speak an ancient dialect of Croatian, and who have a short list of things they love: liqueur, sausage, family, God, and the abundant surrounding nature. Wilson’s husband and children adapt quickly, but Wilson, the very relatable supermom, can’t easily turn off that switch and just enjoy getting reacquainted with her family. Despite the language and cultural barriers, the locals prove invaluable and embrace the quartet, acting as translators, guides, and historians, helping her find the old house, locating nearby living relatives, and teaching the author her first Croatian recipes, giving Wilson the roots she came seeking. (Oct.)
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