From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICKNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA poignant and transporting cross-cultural love story set against the lush backdrop of the Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hour.It was love at first sight when Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in F...

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Title:From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home
Author:Tembi Locke
Rating:
Edition Language:English

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home Reviews

  • Erika Robuck

    From the shores of California to an island in the Mediterranean, FROM SCRATCH is a rich, sensual reading experience. Equal parts uplifting and devastating, it is a memoir of soul-searching beauty. As extraordinary and unique as Tembi Locke's life is, all readers will identify with the themes of love, family, and forgiveness. Highly recommended.

  • Jodie

    The love story of Tembi and Saro is one of passion, commitment, and everlasting love. Not since Paul Kalanithi’s “When Breath Becomes Air” have I been so moved by a book.. Tembi Locke conveys passion and sincerity which is deeply felt on each and every page. It is articulate, vulnerable and full of symbolism. I could not put this book down and highly recommend it.

    Please note: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review which I have provided here.

  • Stacey A.  Prose and Palate

    "She had said so many things, things that were hard to hear, harder still to push through. Things the therapist and books all said were very normal. When those moments happened, when the grief was too big and it threatened to buckle the frame of the house, we'd often go to the back yard of our house and lie on the grass, put our bodies prostrate on the earth. On the blanket looking at the stars, I would tell her to give her hurt to the stars. They could take it. I told her she could say anything

    "She had said so many things, things that were hard to hear, harder still to push through. Things the therapist and books all said were very normal. When those moments happened, when the grief was too big and it threatened to buckle the frame of the house, we'd often go to the back yard of our house and lie on the grass, put our bodies prostrate on the earth. On the blanket looking at the stars, I would tell her to give her hurt to the stars. They could take it. I told her she could say anything to them. She could cry, she could scream, she could curse, anything she felt. She often said only one thing: "Babbo, you should not have left me.”

    I have unintentionallly put myself through the emotional ringer this month reading so many back to back books regarding death and grief, but it has turned out to be an incredibly cathartic experience for me. When I read the above passage from Tembi Locke’s emotional memoir, it immediately brought tears to my eyes because it is something that I think is always on your lips when you lose a parent... whether you are coping as a 7 year old daughter or a daughter who is 42... we think “you should not have left me." We want our loved ones to always be with us, and no matter how old we are, it always seems incomprehensible and unbearable when it comes time to have to say goodbye.

    From Scratch is the heartbreakingly, gorgeous debut that Reese Witherspoon selected as her May read for her Hello Sunshine Book Club pick. It is a meditation on love, family, loss, and navigating overwhelming grief. It is an honest testament of what is is like to care for someone with a terminal illness, and highlights the struggle of adjusting to becoming a family of 2 instead of 3.

    And then there’s the food. I LOVED how food was infused all through out this story. Here in the South, food is definitely a love language and I related so much to the scenes where Tembi and her in-laws come together and find comfort and connection in the kitchen. But most of all, this book is a love letter to those we cherish and who leave us too soon. All the stars.

  • Cortney (cortingbooks)

    “That morning I wanted nothing more than to know that it was possible for me to feel alive, fully alive again. The half living of life after loss was shifting. I wanted to be reminded of the bounty of life...”

    Oh this precious little book touched my heart. I was tearing up at the prologue. Through Tembi’s words you can feel the love she has for her family.

    I know first hand the challenges of learning to navigate the world again as a mom and widow so this book really hit home for me.

    I laughed. I cr

    “That morning I wanted nothing more than to know that it was possible for me to feel alive, fully alive again. The half living of life after loss was shifting. I wanted to be reminded of the bounty of life...”

    Oh this precious little book touched my heart. I was tearing up at the prologue. Through Tembi’s words you can feel the love she has for her family.

    I know first hand the challenges of learning to navigate the world again as a mom and widow so this book really hit home for me.

    I laughed. I cried. I felt like I had traveled to Italy and ate all this delicious food. It was the beautiful blending of two cultures through love and loss. I highly recommend this unforgettable memoir.

  • Rebecca

    This was the perfect book for me to read during a week in Italy. Not only is it set largely in Sicily, but it ticks a lot of boxes in terms of my reading interests: food, travel, bereavement, and the challenges of being an American overseas. During a semester abroad in Florence, Tembi Locke (an actress I was previously unfamiliar with) met and fell in love with Saro Gullo, an Italian chef. His parents could hardly accept him marrying someone from outside of Sicily, let alone a black woman from T

    This was the perfect book for me to read during a week in Italy. Not only is it set largely in Sicily, but it ticks a lot of boxes in terms of my reading interests: food, travel, bereavement, and the challenges of being an American overseas. During a semester abroad in Florence, Tembi Locke (an actress I was previously unfamiliar with) met and fell in love with Saro Gullo, an Italian chef. His parents could hardly accept him marrying someone from outside of Sicily, let alone a black woman from Texas, and refused to attend their wedding. But as the years passed they softened towards Locke, who gradually became accepted in Saro’s hometown of Aliminusa.

    In fact, after Saro’s death from bone cancer in 2012, she became like a second daughter to Saro’s mother; the book focuses on the three summers in a row when she and her adopted daughter Zoela traveled to the family home in Sicily to stay with Nonna. That first year they brought over some of Saro’s ashes, and though in each year that followed the sadness hadn’t truly dissipated, there was still, somehow, more joy in the simplicity of the Sicilian way of life, in her hard-won acceptance into a new family, and in food prepared with love. As an expat, I particularly appreciated the exploration of what it’s like to live between countries and cultures; Locke does a wonderful job of presenting the extreme differences between L.A., where she lives, and Sicily without judgment (i.e., implying that one is better than the other). It’s an honest, sad yet hopeful memoir, and there are even recipes! I plan to order it for my sister as soon as we get home from our vacation.

    “The food from Nonnas kitchen told a story, an epic and personal story of an island and a family. It told the story of poverty, grief, love, and joy. ... Her food spoke of malleability and resourcefulness in loss, in love, and in life. She had learned how to turn subsistence living into abundance.”

    by Shannon Leone Fowler

    by Katherine Wilson

  • Moonkiszt

    From Scratch: a Memoir. . . .

    This was an assignment from Reese W and Hello, Sunshine! Good thing, too, because this is not one I would have picked up and read, given my own choosing algorithms. But this was an interesting story, with all the happy accidents that result in real living (as opposed to fictionally contrived situations to fit plot points), full of crazy coincidences for which we make up plots, intervening characters engaged in divine and/or devilish interferences, with promises of ha

    From Scratch: a Memoir. . . .

    This was an assignment from Reese W and Hello, Sunshine! Good thing, too, because this is not one I would have picked up and read, given my own choosing algorithms. But this was an interesting story, with all the happy accidents that result in real living (as opposed to fictionally contrived situations to fit plot points), full of crazy coincidences for which we make up plots, intervening characters engaged in divine and/or devilish interferences, with promises of happy endings, or dire dooms.

    More than anything this put me in a contemplative mood – thinking semi-dark thoughts wrapped in various themes of “all beginnings have an end.” George Carlin once said “It’s inevitable when you buy the pet. You’re supposed to know it in the pet shop. It’s going to end badly. You are purchasing a small tragedy.” That’s got to be true about every one of our relationships, from the most precious to the ones about which we are most indifferent. So . . . .is the business of life the educating all of us about transitions and reconciling ourselves to being in the moment, and then just as wholly, moving on? Moving on with history that is not allowed to overwhelm or overlimit? So difficult to box up meanings, but beyond the telling of a love/life story, this is my take-away from Ms. Locke’s book.

    Still pondering on it, and have picked up a few more books with similar themes. . . .maybe my algorithms need tweaking. Or not.

    Lovely writing – about her travels, family dynamics and how wacky those can be, the many forgivenesses time helps with in that area, and lots and lots of Sicilian cooking, tastes and pleasures. 3.5 stars from me.

  • Mellie Antoinette

    “Life is still revealing itself to you. Be open to it.”

    This was a beautiful memoir about grief, the aftermath of loss and ultimately the gut-wrenching steps it takes to carry it all forward into the future. With sunny hints of a Sicilian sky slipping through, tomatoes roasting on the stove and almonds to crack in the warm summer heat, it’s amazing how Tembi sewed the comforting hints of food and “otherness” - that second sense of self that happens when we lose a piece of our soul - into her jour

    “Life is still revealing itself to you. Be open to it.”

    This was a beautiful memoir about grief, the aftermath of loss and ultimately the gut-wrenching steps it takes to carry it all forward into the future. With sunny hints of a Sicilian sky slipping through, tomatoes roasting on the stove and almonds to crack in the warm summer heat, it’s amazing how Tembi sewed the comforting hints of food and “otherness” - that second sense of self that happens when we lose a piece of our soul - into her journey back to the every day of the life she lives. “Coincidence and fate are two words for the same phenomenon.” Although she’s a long way from her own personal magic hour, she is building it, one brick, one smile, one memory at time. I really enjoyed this one!

  • Holly

    From Scratch is a beautiful story that moves through love, loss and moving on. While sad and heartbreaking, it is also a testament to love, family and community.

    We meet Saro and witness a very moving romance between him and Tembi. The love they share is so strong that it overcomes thousands of miles of separation. When Saro becomes ill, their love provides strength and courage. The writing is exceptional and lyrical. The descriptions of the food and scenery are wonderful. I highly recommend Fro

    From Scratch is a beautiful story that moves through love, loss and moving on. While sad and heartbreaking, it is also a testament to love, family and community.

    We meet Saro and witness a very moving romance between him and Tembi. The love they share is so strong that it overcomes thousands of miles of separation. When Saro becomes ill, their love provides strength and courage. The writing is exceptional and lyrical. The descriptions of the food and scenery are wonderful. I highly recommend From Scratch.

  • Rachel

    Probably would have given this book 2 stars, except that the writing really is beautiful. It just wasn't what I expected. This is a memoir about loss, period. If that's what you're here for, then you will likely get a lot out of it, but it wasn't what I was hoping for at this particular moment in my life.

  • Sylvia

    3.5. I think that Reese and I do not have the same taste. This is the second of her book club picks that I felt was just ok. Parts of this were wonderful, beautifully written, moved me to tears. But large sections were slow and a little too sentimental. There were meant times I was counting the pages to see when it would end. I intimately know grief and I’ve read other books that fully embrace the experience and strongly echoed my experience. This was not that book.

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