Lost in the Spanish Quarter

HarperVia. Sept. 2019. 368p. ISBN 9780062910226. $25.99; ebk.
DEBUT Oh, to be young, in college, in love, and living abroad. In this debut novel, Goodrich explores these experiences through her main character, also named Heddi. The story begins with an email from Heddi’s first love, Pietro. It’s been four years since they broke up, and he writes to apologize. The story moves back and forth between Heddi’s time in Naples as an American studying languages and her present-day life in New Zealand, and there’s a standard structure of girl meets boy, girl deals with boy’s family, girl and boy break up, and girl and boy move on with their lives. What sets the book apart is the role played by the Spanish Quarter, a neighborhood in Naples. The reader feels the heat, hears the sounds, smells the food, and becomes entranced.
VERDICT By focusing on Heddi’s relationship with Neapolitan language and culture, the book is similar to Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station in suggesting that while immersion in a different environment can be challenging, it facilitates growth and change. While the narrative could have used some tightening and more editing, it will appeal to students and adults interested in all that college, first love, and new experiences bring to one’s life.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month