Gaining Italian friends in Lucca and gaining the Italian language as a friend were two distinctly different challenges for Robert Powers. The first he and his partner Donald accomplished with amazing, and graceful, ease, but the second remained frustratingly—and for the reader, entertainingly–out of reach for the longest time. As their circle of Lucchese friends grew, so did Robert’s struggle with la bella lingua, as did his string of comically-recounted linguistic gaffes. Readers will enjoy the meals and times with Robert’s big Lucca family, and his journey into mastery of their country’s language. This book is frank, well-written, and utterly engaging.