Thursday, January 21, 2010

Keeping the Feast: Book review and giveaway

Although set in the lush countryside and antiquated cityscapes of Italy, where happily-ever-afters are are as common as cappuccinos, Paula Butturini's memoir Keeping the Feast is not a love story.

Instead it's a story about what happens after the honeymoon phase of a marriage, when tragedy strikes and wedding vows – to love and to cherish, till death do us part -- are put to the test. It's a story about how a wife copes with the metaphorical “death” of her husband after he falls into a maelstrom of clinical depression, and how instead of giving up and leaving him to flounder alone, she finds strength and sanity through food and the preparation of meals. It's a story about survival through the darkest moments in a marriage and, in the end, it's a story about emerging from the darkness into light, hand in hand with your loved one.

In this Mediterranean country, where food is seen as a birthright and hearty meals are a defining staple in daily life, Butturini falls in love with fellow journalist John Tagliabue while both are working as foreign correspondents in Rome. After a whirlwind marriage John soon gets wounded by gunfire while on a separate assignment in Romania and the ensuing surgeries and treatments send him into a spiral of depression so deep he becomes a living ghost, a shadow of his former self. In Keeping the Feast, Butturini chronicles the loneliness she feels when she thinks she's lost John permanently to the depression, her memories rooted in family and food from her childhood in New Jersey, and her process of overcoming adversity and finally healing through cooking and (as cheesy as it sounds) love.

Italy has always held a special place in my heart. The country was a favorite destination of my family's during our European trips; when I was older and in college I studied abroad in Florence. And when J and I planned our wedding I wanted to make the day extra memorable so we booked tickets for our closest family members, rented a villa and had a Tuscan wedding that I still smile about nearly three years later. I can see, firsthand, how Italy would be the perfect backdrop for healing an individual and a marriage. Though I felt the ending of the book fell a little flat, it's worth a read if you're a foodie who enjoys salivating over vivid descriptions of Italian settings and gourmet cuisine. And even if food isn't your thing, we've all come to that crossroads in a relationship when we ask ourselves whether sticking it out through the bad times is worth it.

In Keeping the Feast it was. All you need is hope and a little bruschetta.

I'm giving away one free copy of Keeping the Feast for anyone who's interested!

How to Enter:

1.) Only US and Canadian residents can enter. Sorry international amigos, maybe next time.

2.) This giveaway is only open to readers of Brunette on a Budget, so you must be a follower of my random musings in some capacity or another (feed subscriber, a follower in the right-hand column of my blog through Google FriendConnect, etc.)


3.) Leave a comment below.

4.) Contest ends in one week, Thursday, January 28 at 12pm EST.


Once I get all the entries I'll choose the winner at random using a number generator. Good luck!

21 comments:

AuntBT said...

Very fun!

Caroline in the City said...

Pick me! I LOVE reading, especially about Italy.

MandaLove said...

I would love to enter to try to win this book! :D I LOVE READING! and Italy is AMAZING!

me in millions said...

I want to win!

Becca Christensen said...

Sounds excellent and I love free books!

DannaJo said...

The book sounds interesting. Hope I win!

sfordinarygirl said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. I'd love to win!

VE said...

I stumbled on here from somewhere. Don't worry...I'll hitchhike home. I do love Italy though. I've been there three different times and would have to say that of the 40 countries in the world I've been too, it is at the top of my list.

LG said...

I follow you on Twitter and love your posts!!! I too am a lover of all things Italy!!!

Being Brazen said...

sounds like an interesting book (pity I cant enter)

Ps - I started a book blog if you interested in joining: http://www.beingbrazenbooks.blogspot.com

LisaMM said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! All you need is hope and bruschetta, I love it!

Thank you so much for all the time you put into reading and reviewing Keeping the Feast! It is very much appreciated.

Lisa said...

I've got the book, so no need to enter me in the giveaway.

Great review--it really makes me anxious to get to this one!

Tracey said...

Sounds good - I'd like a chance to win (and if I don't win... I'll add to my library queue!)

Carolyn said...

Ooooh sounds exactly like my kind of book!!!!

annie said...

i don't usually comment on people's blogs unless i know them personally. but as i'm also a brunette on a budget who studied abroad in florence, i say bring on the free book! woot!

The Hot Heads Groupie said...

Great review! I also wanted to let you know that I referenced an old post of yours on Thurs. (There is a link to your blog towards the bottom of my 2nd Jan 21st post, titled: Black Ballet Flats, Questionable Earrings and Beautiful Eyes.

I'll have to check out the book. Sounds like a good one! It would be nice to win it! (I'm a brunette on a budget too! :) Well, I'm actually a brunette w/highlights on a budget. It appears that you are as well! :)

Have a good weekend!

Amber said...

Sounds like a wonderful book that I would really identify with, thank you for sharing! :)

Oh, and great idea for the giveaway!

Caroline said...

Would love to win!!

design4less@yahoo.com

Julie said...

omg this book sounds amazing, kind of like "under the tuscan sun" but not....I hope I get picked! Just found your blog today, so glad I did, perfect timing! can't wait to read more!

Paula Butturini said...

Having spent most of the last two years chained to my computer writing Keeping the Feast I can tell you it is really great to finally be able to hear other people talking about it. I loved your "hope and bruschetta" line; but thought I'd add that it can be hope and guacamole, hope and biscuits, or hope and any honest food eaten around a family table.

Lauren said...

I'm a follower! Definitely need a book to take me away from this literally cold and dreary place!

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