I have been putting off this post for quite some time now and probably for the same reason that it took me so long to get through these books. They weren't quite for me. I wouldn't even know who to recommend these books to. I purchased Endless Love when Borders was closing and I went crazy swooping up all the books that looked decent while they were 50-75% off. The Girl in the Italian Bakery was purchased after Amazon Kindle suggested it and I saw that the reviews were pretty decent. I didn't feel much of a connection with either book and in hindsight I probably should have just given up on them but instead I chose to stick with them and give them the benefit of the doubt until the end.
The Girl in the Italian Bakery is a memoir, which I did not know when I first started the book. And like all autobiographies, it's a tad bit slow because really, who really has that interesting of a life. The book follows a boy through his rough childhood and shows his journey to becoming a man. Overall the moral of the story and overall concept was fine but I felt misled by the title. You don't even learn who "the girl in the Italian bakery" is until about 3/4 through the book and the story never really is about her. The author mentions her as basically the one who got away but never once in the autobiography does he speak to her or have a relationship with her. If you want a story about struggling to find yourself and grow as a person then I believe you might like the book, but for a love story it is pretty far from it.
Endless Love... Oh, this book... The critics dubbed this book as "The classic coming of age story", or something along the lines of that. I was disturbed by this book and personally thought that the main character was insane. They call it insane with love or whatever, but I still thought that the character had a pathological illness. He burned down his girlfriend's house in an attempt to get the family's attention. He was obsessed with not only his girlfriend but also her family. After years in a mental hospital he gets out on probation and essentially starts to stalk the members of the family until he makes a connection with his old girlfriend again.
Some of the scenes that were depicted in the novel where a bit too graphic for my taste. When reading a novel that includes intimate scenes there are three different levels of graphic- modest, exotic, overwhelming/obscene. Modest scenes essentially skip over the entire "act" and leave it all to the imagination. Exotics scenes are detailed and the reader can sense the intimacy. Obscene or overwhelming scenes go above and beyond and leave the reader puzzled or questioning the sanity of the characters and/or author. Now, being the lover of all good romance novels I have read my share of intimate scenes. That being said, I have never wrinkled up my nose and felt like gagging while doing so until this book. I honestly would have to take breaks during these "scenes" because I felt dirty and disgusted just by reading them. Now, maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe this book is perfectly suitable for other people and I'm just an exception to the rule. But I personally was thankful to be done with the book.