Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, March 22, 2010

Memoir Monday... Keeping the Feast by Paula Butturini

Love, Food, and Healing in Italy

Keeping the Feast by Paula Butturini... Back of the Book: Paula and John met in Italy, fell in love, and four years later, married in Rome. But less than a month after the wedding, tragedy struck. They had transferred from their Italian paradise to Warsaw and while reporting on an uprising in Romania, John was shot and nearly killed by sniper fire. Although he recovered from his physical wounds in less than a year, the process of healing had just begun. Unable to regain his equilibrium, he sank into a deep sadness that reverberated throughout their relationship. It was the abrupt end of what they'd known together, and the beginning of a new phase of life neither had planned for. All of a sudden, Paula was forced to reexamine her marriage, her husband, and herself.

Paula began to reconsider all of her previous assumptions about healing. She discovered that sometimes patience can be a vice, anger a virtue. That sometimes it is vital to make demands of the sick, that they show signs of getting better. And she rediscovered the importance of the most fundamental of human rituals: the daily sharing of food around the family table.

A universal story of hope and healing, Keeping the Feast is an account of one couple's triumph over tragedy and illness, and a celebration of the simple rituals of life, even during the worst life crises. Beautifully written and tremendously moving, Paula's story is a testament to the extraordinary sustaining powers of food and love, and to the stubborn belief that there is always an afterward, there is always hope.

Keeping the Feast is an amazing memoir. It stirs the taste buds, as Paula describes the wonderful food that keeps her going..."I would buy a shiny, plump purple-black eggplant. Or a handful of slender green beans, so fresh and young you could eat them raw... a mountain of mid-winter spinach, barely warm and drizzled with olive oil and lemon...". We are entranced by the descriptions of the narrow streets of Italy, the vendors that abound, and the beauty. But at the same time we are enjoying the wonderful descriptions of food, Italy and love, we read along as tragedy strikes and Paula must deal with her husband Johns external wounds as well as his growing depression. It's a story of the "simple rituals of life" and how important they can be in our every day lives. Paula feeds the senses with her writing as the story unfolds in flashbacks. It's an important story, one in which others dealing with tragedy and the difficulties of living with someone with depression or an illness may find inspiration from Paula Butturini. Read the first chapter of Keeping the Feast! The story is captivating and the writing will keep your attention.

I want to thank Lydia from Riverhead Books for sending this book along to me! Thanks Lydia, it was such a good read!


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Suzanne...this sounds wonderful; great review.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

This title has been on my list since I first heard about it. I skimmed your review and look forward to reading this memoir.

fredamans said...

I'm positive I would love this book! Great review!

Ann Summerville said...

I'm enjoying your blog and gave you the Beautiful Blog Award. Check my blog for the rules.

Jennifer said...

Can't wait to read this. It sounds right up my alley. My husband is dealing with depression right now, and it's very scary to see him so down.

Suzanne Yester said...

Oh Jennifer, how are you holding up?! I hope your husband starts to feel better! Depression is terrible to suffer through... My thoughts are with you...

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Diane & Mary!
So glad you both enjoyed the review! Paula's strength really shows itself as she keeps her head about her while dealing with so much.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Fredamans!
I think you would really enjoy this too! Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the review!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Ann!
Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!AND for dropping off an award! You are a sweetie and I'll be taking a trip to Cozy in Texas to say hello!

Helen Ginger said...

It sounds like a moving memoir. I had not heard of Keeping the Feast before you blogged about it.

Straight From Hel

Booksnyc said...

I love memoirs and this one sounds great! Italy is on my must travel to list so I get there via novels until I can get there in person!

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