Top critical review
Very little content - for very slow learners - very disappointing
on 9 March 2013
Finely packaged, Glossy, solid paper in tightly bound slimline book that will last a century but you wouldn't want to keep it beyond a week. This kind of quality is desirable in a reference book, which this is not.
Once you've learned 2+2=4 you want to move on. I waited a week for the delivery and I was an absolute beginner and I'd already learnt all the content in it from the website. I'd finished with Book1 + CDs after two sessions of an hour or so.
The FIRST book and double CD, therefore, is a JOKE - all this content in on the BBC website (and perhaps in a less irritatingly didactic tone) and on other free websites. The CDs are mostly in English NOT ITALIAN and it's just endless repetition. Italian is relatively easy to understand - this approach might work better with French, which I speak fluently now, but which was initially hard to understand aurally.
Neither book has much grammar but the SECOND book has enough content for a beginner who actually wants to learn the language (rather than have a smattering of phrases for holiday purposes_ but here again there is better stuff available online with free pdf printouts etc.
Or better still buy a pocket-size phrase book for holiday Italian (with an mp3 download- I'm sure that's available)
The quizzes,exercises take up too much space in the book - once they're done you don't need them again.
In general, there's too much English again.
The main gripe is that it's all painfully slow, with very little Italian content. It's aimed at people who are never ever going to get much beyond 'non parlo italiano' and ordering a cappuccino but want to feel like they're making progress. I want REAL progress.
Buy this if you've got friends who you can pass the book onto. It's just a glossy,, expensive appetiser, quickly digested.