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

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  10,325 ratings  ·  1,104 reviews
A 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 Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did
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Hardcover, 339 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by Simon & Schuster
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  • From Scratch by Tembi Locke
    From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home
    by
    Release date: Feb 04, 2020
    Enter for a chance to win the New York Times-bestselling Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick, now in paperback!

    Set in the lush Sicilian countryside, one
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    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 20 copies available, 5004 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jan 16 - Feb 14, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.89  · 
    Rating details
     ·  10,325 ratings  ·  1,104 reviews


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    Start your review of From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home
    Erika Robuck
    Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    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.
    Julie
    Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Beautiful writing and narration by the author. I visited Sicily in May 2019 and the author's descriptions brought it all flooding back. Sicily has everything, beautiful vistas, gorgeous beaches, amazing architecture, delicious food & wine, & wonderful characters! As I listened, I scribbled quotes on various scraps of paper, such as junk mail envelopes. I wrote on anything I had to hand when I heard something that twanged my heart strings. However, I appear to have mislaid most of them ...more
    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
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    Cortney
    May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 2019-favorites
    “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
    ...more
    Jessie
    May 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: biography, 2019
    I really wanted to like this, to connect with someone else who has felt grief, but it fell incredibly flat. The way it was written, I wasn't able to connect with the characters, and there was no plot. It was simply a sad woman who ate pasta. I expected to follow their love story and then feel the loss, grieving alongside Tembi, but it never happened.
    Susan Meissner
    Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    What a beautiful tribute to love in all its forms, even the love you still feel when you are mourning. That love is its own kind of love, as true, as powerful, as life-shaping as the kind you'd easily been able to express before everything changed. I loved especially these lines on p. 176. "...throughout life, we revisit the empty spaces. That was her understanding of grief. That we are always trying to reconcile memory with reality..." This is what it means to grieve; to cherish still every ...more
    Rachel
    May 11, 2019 rated it liked it
    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.
    Jodie
    Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: my-5-star-reads
    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.
    Jude (NYJudester) Fricano
    I wanted to love this book. Sicily, food, culture, family, love .. but unfortunately I did not. The story was too drawn out, too much forced drama. There were parts that made me smile, other parts I rolled my eyes. I wish I loved it. I just didn’t feel it.
    Stacey A.  Prose and Palate
    May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 2019-reads
    "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 ...more
    Isa
    Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
    A beautifully written testament of accepting life with all that life has to give, of love .....love for another human being, love for parents, love for children and love for one's origins and birth place....
    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 ...more
    Sarah
    Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: hello-sunshine
    The story she had to tell was compelling but it was overwritten. It seemed like her prose was trying too hard.
    Mellie Antoinette
    May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
    “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
    ...more
    Holly
    Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2019
    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
    ...more
    Sylvia
    May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
    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.
    Mikala Hill
    May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: book-club
    In all fairness, I am not the "memoir" type. But I was rooting for this one. It started off strong...and then drug on until the end. Bummer.
    Marianne Fokas
    May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I loved this book. It appealed to me on many levels, I am of Italian heritage and my husband also died from cancer. I thought her writing was beautiful and the feelings expressed were so real and spot on when it comes to caregiving, and grief. It is also a story about healing and the love of family. And the food, Tembi had my mouth watering on so many occasions. I was so happy to see the included recipes! I plan on trying a lot of them. Wonderful debut novel!
    Susan
    May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: book-clubs
    I am sure writing this book was cathartic for Ms. Locke. At least I hope it was. For me, I felt like I spent a book reading about her complaining about things that only someone with privilege could complain about. Yes, there were some racial issues and I am not diminishing the difficulties in losing a spouse; however, when someone spends pages explaining how gorgeous it is while they are able to spend summers mourning their husband’s passing in Sicily, those issues seem a bit less pressing. So, ...more
    Lisa
    May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Am I the only one who sometimes actually mourns the end of a book? My own healing from loss took me to Italy a few years ago. This book spoke to me in so many aspects and touched on that journey to Italy once again.
    Robin
    Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Amazing book. One of best memoirs I've ever read.

    Ever.
    Jessica Woodbury
    A poignant memoir about finding love and moving on. Locke is a fantastic writer, able to keep you involved and engaged with warm, lush prose. She is particularly good at painting a picture of Sicily or a plate of pasta. You can feel the sun, smell the dishes, and get fully enwrapped in the warmth and love here. A bit of a weepy at first, but in the second half of the book Locke writes in more detail about her life as a widow and her growing relationship with her mother-in-law and it really ...more
    2TReads
    May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
    This was such a wonderful, yet heartbreaking memoir. Part sweeping love story, and part grief manual. It gives us a glimpse into two parts of Tembi Locke's life; how she met and fell in love with her husband Saro and built a family, and how she was able to get through her grief when Saro passed away. It is a story of love, family, grief, forgiveness and strength, with a generous helping of food (which played a main role in Tembi and Saro's relationship because he was a chef).
    A truly
    ...more
    Sandra
    May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Exquisite! I listened to the audible version narrated by the author and it was beautifully peppered with gorgeous Italian language. Tembi Locke's effortless flow from English to Italian accented phrases hooked me immediately. Her story was crafted in lyrical, romantic prose. I fell in love with every single word she told. I loved that Aliminusa, Sicily was a central character in the story. I felt like I was there, her descriptions of the area, the food, the taste of Italian food left me longing ...more
    Taylor
    Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: food-memoirs
    What I thought this book was going to be about and what it actually was about were two entirely different things. I was expecting more of a culinary, upbeat, overcoming loss memoir. What it read as was a grieving, never ending, jilted story of a wife losing her husband (which I knew was a core part of the synopsis). I felt everything else was an afterthought. There were parts I couldn't wait to be over because she went on and on and on in a way that I couldn't empathize or connect with. Her ...more
    Scilla
    Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Amazing! I am not a memoir genre reader, but this was easy and so entertaining! I loved hearing Tembi’s stories from Sicily! Reads as though your girlfriend is just talking to you about her life experiences! For those fans of Elena Ferrante you will feel the same old world feel while reading this memoir. I come from a portuguese background in Sao Miguel and even though the language and people are different it has reminded me of stories I’ve heard of my parents growing up from humble beginnings. ...more
    Vanessa ❤️
    May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Beautifully written!!
    Chandra
    Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
    A beautifully written memoir about love, family, food, and grief. Be prepared to cry a lot at certain parts!
    Sara
    Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I really liked this one. I didn’t expect a memoir to have so many twists and turns. And I love a good good story. This one checked a lot of boxes for me.
    Laura
    May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
    A beautifully written memoir. The recollection of a love that travels from one continent to another and back again. A must read.
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    IBIS Read and Review: From Scratch by Tembi Locke 3 14 May 19, 2019 09:17AM  

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    As an actor, I started my onscreen career with the iconic comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Today you can find me in roles on The Magicians, Proven Innocent, NCIS: LA to name a few or on the big screen in the upcoming feature film, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (2019). I love my acting career and, at the center of my work on set, there is always a commitment to story and the complexity of being ...more
    “He soothed the places I hadn't known needed soothing, seemed perfectly willing to embrace the parts of me that were wanton, unsettled, unfinished, and contradictory. Together we had engaged life as two forks eating off one plate. Ready to listen, to love, to look into the darkness and see a thin filament of the moon.” 3 likes
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