My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I picked up I’ll Know It When I See It, thinking that it was going to be an Irish version of Under the Tuscan Sun. I love books like Tuscan Sun because there is something about that I find romantic about finding and fixing up a new home, putting down new roots and redefining your life in the process. It all seems like a leap of faith to me to cut ties with the past and willingly throw yourself into a future that you choose.
Sadly, I’ll Know It When I See It is a very different kind of book. While the author, Alice Carey, did purchase a new home in Ireland, this book was too entrenched in the past to really appeal. Carey spends minimal time exploring or settling into her new home or community – in fact, the main house on her property remained as untouched and unlived in as it was at the start of the story. Instead, Carey is fixated on exploring her past: her relationship with her mother, a traumatizing episode with her priestly uncle, her childhood friendships famous people (soooooo much name dropping!!! We get it! You emptied the ashtrays of the famous and the fabulous!!! Can we get back to the house now?), mourning for friends lost to AIDS and for the home on Fire Island that she had to sell in order to purchase her Irish property. I was left wondering why (if she was so reluctant to leave behind her NY life) did she make the move at all? When all was said and done, I never got the impression that she ever felt comfortable or completely satisfied with her new life which left me feeling vaguely unsatisfied with the story. I was tempted to follow her cat’s example and abandon this household and go settle in at the neighbor’s house. Maybe it’s my fault for coming in to the story with pre-conceived notions but I just never clicked with this book and won’t be adding it to my personal library.