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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Ciao! We're in Africa is a nonfiction biography written by Marisa Parker, which is the sequel to her first book, Goodbye to Italia, that narrated the early lives of the author’s parents; Maria, known as Iucci, and Eugenio Piergiovanni. Her father had fought in the Italian army and had been a prisoner of war in Africa, while her mom was a schoolgirl. When he finally returned home, he set up a commodities business and hired Iucci to help him. In 1955, the two married and shortly thereafter moved to Africa. The voyage by ship was both exhilarating and terrifying for the young woman, who had never been been far from home and her mother and grandmother. Now she was setting off for unknown shores with her new husband as the only reminder of her past life. Homesickness warred with excitement; however, Eugenio always seemed to know the things to do or say to make her smile and to dispel any hesitation about the grand adventure they were embarking upon.
Marisa Parker’s nonfiction biography, Ciao! We're in Africa, is a well-written and entertaining look at how her parents manage to set up a business selling haute couture clothing that becomes the iconic go-to place for well-to-do expats living in Africa. It’s also a marvelous look at colonial Africa between the years of 1955-1969, a time of upheaval and cultural change. I loved seeing Africa through Iucci’s eyes and watching as she grows into her new environment and life. From finding that first location for their store, following the Piergiovannis as they discover their niche in high fashion is a remarkable story, and Parker is an accomplished and engaging narrator. Ciao! We're in Africa is most highly recommended.