Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blog Tour: Keeping the Feast, by Paula Butturini


The good news is, I absolutely loved Keeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy, by Paula Butturini. The bad news is, I find myself wayyy under the weather tonight, so I don't know how thoroughly long and meandering and gushing this review will be simply because I'm headed off to bed as soon as humanly possible.
I will say, if you've been reading my blog recently or following my Twitter feed, I've gushed about this book as mutedly as possible. I wasn't supposed to post a review until today for Butturini's blog tour, and it's been nearly impossible to keep quiet about how much I loved the book. I let little squeaks of praise out on several occasions.
To give a brief synopsis:
Paula Butturini and her husband, John Tagliabue, meet as foreign correspondents when they're living in Rome. Butturini briefly chronicles their burgeoning relationship and courtship. Shortly after their marriage they are relocated, Butturini is beaten in the midst of a riot, and her new husband is shot by a sniper in Romania on a separate assignment. The story that follows is about Tagliabue's spiral into a deep depression and how the couple eventually return to their beloved Rome to recover. Butturini seeks comfort in the daily ritual of shopping for and preparing meals while Tagliabue slowly works his way back to his old self.
This synopsis would be a disservice to the book if I didn't add that it could be a real downer if the above were all there was! No, no. Each chapter begins with Butturini recalling a memory from her childhood and growing years associated with food and comfort (mostly her Italian family recipes). She then segues into her trials throughout the whole ordeal with injury and depression and discusses how food and preparing it helped fill some of the void and frustration associated with her husband's depression and some personal losses along the way. What could be a dark book is consistently uplifting and comforting because of Butturini's own optimism and her willingness to seek small comforts in her everyday life.
This book is probably up your alley if enjoy general non-fiction and memoir, travel writing, or foodie books. It certainly has a broad appeal, and I hope it finds great success. It actually pains me a great deal that I wasn't able to contact Paula Butturini to ask for a guest post, and I rarely request guest posts here. It's been so busy in my home life lately that I never found the time, but there's much I'd like to ask her based on her wonderful book from recipes to life lessons. I actually found myself Googling several of the recipes she mentioned, and I can't wait to try them myself.
While I'm feeling the need to head to bed right about now, stay tuned for a post containing some of my favorite passages. If they don't make your mouth water or tug at your heart strings, well, then you must be from another planet and I can't help you.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy.

21 comments:

  1. I love memoirs, travel writing and foodie books! I can't wait to read this one!

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  2. Sounds like something I will like. Your review makes me want to read this!

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  3. Thanks for your review! I've been developing an interest in memoir/foodie books lately, so its sounds like this is something I should definitely pick up!

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  4. I just finished this book this weekend! But I don't get to post my review of it until next week. Like you, I really enjoyed it. I didn't find it very depressing at all, either.

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  5. Andi, I'm sorry you aren't feeling well today and hope you feel better very soon. I am so happy you enjoyed the book. I finished it recently too and felt it was very inspiring and not depressing at all.

    Good news! You'll have a chance to ask Paula anything you like when she visits my blog on Feb. 22nd.. she'll be answering questions in real time for an hour. You can post questions ahead of time or send it to me via email if you can't be available on that day. I'll be sending info thru email before it happens so you'll know all the details.

    Thanks so much for the time and effort that went into reading and reviewing Keeping the Feast! I'm really glad you liked it.

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  6. Kathy, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I was really happy it was my first read of the year. Started things out with a bang.

    Aths, thanks! I really wanted to write a tantalizing review and as bad as I felt last night, I wasn't sure I'd accomplish it!

    Bored D, definitely put this one high on the list. It fits your list of current interests. My first 2 books of 2010 were foodie/travel books, so it looks like I'm off to a promising start.

    Aarti, I didn't find it depressing either, but I definitely think it could've been if Butturini weren't such a deft writer. I really enjoyed that she tied together her harsher experiences as an adult with her family and foodie memories.

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  7. Lisa, thanks so much for the heads up about the Q&A! I can't wait!

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  8. This sounds really good. I'm always envious of people who get to live such exciting (minus the riots and beatings of course) lives in foreign places. At least with books like these I can live vicariously for a little while anyway.

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  9. Oops, that was me in the comment above...I thought I had signed in.

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  10. I enjoy books like this for that very reason too, Danielle. I loved reading about the minutiae of everyday life in Rome (and the other places they lived). The markets, local customs, fave regional foods. Wonderful stuff!

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  11. I just requested a copy of this book, can't wait to see if I got it! And I really, realllly LOVE the new blog look. It's classy, but pretty, easy to read and not to busy. So perfect. :)
    Alayne - The Crowded Leaf.

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  12. The foodie memoir is a personal favorite so I will have to check this out. Especially because you are so openly and charmingly enthusiastic about it! Really appealing is the whole drawing comfort from the small bits of life while recovering from a large scale setback. Great post.

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  13. Thank you, Alayne! I hope you enjoy Keeping the Feast as much as I did, and thanks for the thumbs upon the blog look. I thought it was time for a change. :)

    Frances, I hope you enjoy the book when you get around to it. Books like these tend to be favorites, so I'm always on the lookout for more.

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  14. Sounds like a great read! And I love the new look of your blog BTW- very nice if I do say so myself. Thanks for sharing...this will definitely be a book that I check out!

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  15. I'm reading this for the tour now, and I'm not loving it quite as much as everyone else. It's ok, but I think her strength is really the political/journalism aspect, not the food. I'm going to withhold judgment until I finish, but right now it's not making me drool.

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  16. That sounds really good, always interested in the ways people work through depression.

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  17. My publisher sent me the link to your blog and I wanted to thank you for giving the book such a close reading, and seeing beyond the hard times we went through to the idea of celebration that is still going on. It is a strange, but good, feeling to have worked quietly on this book for such a long time and then suddenly to be able to 'talk' about it with you through the internet while I'm in Paris and you're in the States. Thanks for all the comments too!

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  18. It was great to read your comments about the book, and I am so looking forward to reading it, and seeing Paula when she is in DC at Politics and Prose.

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  19. Hope you're feeling better by now, Andi!

    I just finished this book last night (also for a TLC book tour ... my review will post on Feb 4th) and LOVED it! I am a big foodie, and Butturini's descriptions of food set my mouth watering. I have a lot to say about this book ... gotta wait :)

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  20. Andi, don't you want to just sit down with Paual and chat? I was deeply moved by her story, too, and I loved how she alternated stories from her childhood with the story that she was relating about her husband's recuperation. It is such a meaningful book.

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