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.