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The Reluctant Tuscan

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About the Author

A TV producer for more than twenty-five years, Phil Doran worked as a writer-producer for such successful shows as Sanford and Son, Too Close for Comfort, Who's the Boss?, and The Wonder Years, as well as writing episodes of The Bob Newhart Show and writing for such variety-show stars as Tim Conway, the Smothers Brothers, and Tony Orlando. He received an Emmy nomination, a Humanitas Award, and the Population Institute Award for his work on All in the Family. He has also written a screenplay for Tri-Star, two stage plays that were produced in Los Angeles, and travel articles for the Los Angeles Times. He and his wife divide their time between Tuscany and their home in California.


Readers of Doran's amusing memoir about relocating from Los Angeles to the tiny Tuscan town of Cambione must first suspend their disbelief that a person in his right mind would actively resist such an opportunity. But resist Doran does-and when his sculptor wife buys a ramshackle, 300-year-old house there on a whim, she must drag him kicking and screaming out of his high-stress, low-reward life as a Hollywood writer and producer (among his hits: Who's the Boss? and The Wonder Years). What follows is rather predictable: the house turns out to be in even worse shape than anyone imagined, and the construction crew has no "discernable pattern" when it comes to showing up for work. Lines like "Things happen in Italy that don't happen anywhere else on earth. A magical friendliness is spread all over the place like pixie dust" don't do much to distinguish Doran's story from other books of its ilk, but the author's grudging optimism and dead-on ear for dialogue certainly do. Doran's brutally funny accounts of tangles with everyone (including the mayor, the police, an inefficient landlord and Doran's long-suffering wife) are enough to keep readers hooked until the last page. It may not be a surprise that he lives happily ever after, but how he gets there is certainly worth the ride. Agent, Betsy Amster. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

After spending 25 years writing and producing popular television shows like Who's the Boss? and The Wonder Years, Doran was approached by his wife, who thought he needed a change. Her proposal: restore a house in Italy and leave the stress (and success) of Los Angeles behind. Doran agrees, but only grudgingly; thus this story is born. It is as much about Doran's struggle with a television industry that considers him a "relic" and his fight to reconnect with his wife as it is about restoring a 300-year-old farmhouse in a small Italian village chock-full of colorful characters and plenty of bureaucracy. Doran handles all of it with curmudgeonly wit that is the book's greatest strength. With the recent popularity of Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun and the companion movie, Doran's title may prove appealing to patrons looking for a more sardonic take on life, love, marriage, retirement, and Tuscany. Recommended for public libraries.-Mari Flynn, Keystone Coll., La Plume, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Praise for The Reluctant Tuscan: "Doran's brutally funny accounts . . . are enough to keep readers hooked until the last page."--Publishers Weekly" . . . disarmingly funny."--The Arizona Republic"A truly funny book that reveals Italy as never before."--The Grand Rapids Press

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