Halfway to Each Other by Susan Pohlman

Review by Me, Emily

Susan and Tim Pohlman plan to divorce after their business trip to Italy. While in Italy, however, they decide to give their family one last chance. Bringing their two teenaged children, they pack up their lives and move to Italy for a year.

Sounds romantic, huh?

They put everything on the line. Life isn't always easy halfway around the world. They don't even speak the language.

But the difficulties (and the beauties) of living in Italy bring their family closer together.

Susan Pohlman writes with such honesty. Her stories are full of humor and heart. I'm not much for memoirs myself, but this one was one of the most enjoyable I've ever read. A talented writer, a unique yet relatable plot, and lots of laughs.
I definitely recommend Halfway to Each Other.
PS. It would make a great book club book.


  1. This looks good but I cant find it at my libraries. Is it a new release?

  2. Interesting! I just finished reading "Enchanted April" and my husband and I are reading "A Room with a View". Both of those are also books about people "finding themselves" in Italy. :) Thanks for your wonderful recommendations. Some of my favorite reads lately have been your suggestions.

  3. Yep. It doesn't come out until Monday! I thought it was earlier this month. Sorry!

  4. Hi Emily!

    What a pleasure to sign onto the internet today and see your wonderful review of Halfway to Each Other. Thank you, thank you. Your support means a lot.

    And to add to Michelle's comment above, Enchanted April is a wonderful story that is set in the same region of Italy where we lived! Liguria is truly enchanting... in April and May and June...:)

    Susan Pohlman

  5. Here are questions my book club used to discuss the book:

    Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home
    Book Questions

    1. Overall—how did you experience the book while reading it? Were you immediately drawn into the story—or did it take a while? Did the book intrigue, amuse, disturb, alienate, or irritate you?

    2. In this age of social networking and being constantly connected with friends on an overwhelming basis, do you identify with Susan when she wrote that she and her husband “spent too much time turning to our friends instead of each other?”

    3. What does Mrs. Pohlman celebrate or criticize in both cultures—Italian and American? Consider family traditions, social norms, economic and political structures, the arts, language, food, and religious beliefs.

    4. Upon moving to Italy, does Susan wish to preserve her American culture or adapt to the Italian culture? If preserve, what and how? Either way—by instigating change or by maintaining the status quo of her old life—what would be gained or what would be at risk?

    5. Do you think Susan Pohlman is trying to make a point of saying that Americans judge others too harshly or care too much what others think of them? When she writes of the ordeal of getting ready for the beach—which swimsuit she’ll wear and what that choice will say about her—what is she saying about American culture?

    6. Halfway through her adventure in Italy, Susan finds herself at the kitchen sink “mourning the slow death of her American Dream.” Is the American Dream relatively the same for everyone and is it as toxic to a marriage as Susan suggests? Do Americans insulate themselves in their “stuff” that creates the American Dream (PlayStations, Wii, mobile phones, instant messaging, television programs, etc.) rather than grow their relationships?

    7. When Susan speaks with her husband, Tim, she ponders the American Dream and asks if the reason they are so miserable is because they got lost in the repetition of their life. She states, “You just kind of get lost in the repetition of it all. But you don’t really know you’re lost until you’re so lonely that you can’t take it anymore. The layers of your life slowly suffocate you. And then it falls apart. The marriage, the family, the house…” Agree or disagree?

    8. How does the Italian culture differ from ours? What was most surprising, intriguing, and difficult to understand? After reading the book, have you gained a new perspective—or did the book affirm your prior views?

    9. What do you think of Susan’s belief that there are two approaches to spending money: “one was to spend it so that the world looked at us; the other was to spend it so that we could look at the world?” Agree or disagree?

    10. Do the same issues that affected Susan’s life affect your life? How so—directly, on a daily basis, or more generally? Now or sometime in the future?

    11. If you were to talk to Susan Pohlman, what would you want to know?