A Memoir From Scratch

“If I could just teach her how to be resilient, how to love big, how to fear less. How to weather hurt, either at the hands of others or even the hurts she might unknowingly inflict on herself. I wanted her to know that love can come in many forms. That sometimes it can look like letting go, but it can also look like never letting go. That one day she might have to love someone in ways the world wasn’t ready for. That reaching for that kind of love would bring with it struggle, but in the end, it could be grander than her wildest imaginings.”

While in college, Tembi traveled abroad to Italy. She had hopes of learning more about the culture, perfecting her language and having three months of exploration. She never intended to meet Saro, but she did, and he became the love of her life. Their story includes laughter, love, food (delicious food), family, heartbreak, loss, and rediscovery; it was sure to be one for the books. And, that’s exactly what From Scratch is. Follow along as Tembi Locke narrates her first memoir about what it took to be able to find herself again.

When I first picked up this book, at my local bookstore, I examined the cover and read the synopsis. I was intrigued but I put it down (I was determined to leave the bookstore without spending any money- don’t ask me why I was there in the first place) and walked out. I got halfway to my car, turned around, walked back inside and bought the book. I drove home, put away the book I had been reading earlier that day and began reading From Scratch, A Memoir of Love, Sicily and Finding Home by Tembi Locke. Since finishing Tembi’s story, I have been grateful that I listened to my “book-sense” and went back.

This was the first memoir that I have read. I’ve read a lot of fiction books and have felt strongly about characters but this memoir… Tembi is the type of woman who I aspire to be. She is the heroine of her own story. She has loved; she has endured; she has lost; she has survived. Tembi Locke is truly incredible and I, for one, am a better person by simply reading her story. I can’t imagine how greatly she has impacted the lives of those closest to her.

It was a deeply moving, captivating and enlightening story that everyone should read. Her grief was real. I felt it down in my bones. To have to watch the love of your life go through what he did… I just can’t imagine. Tembi and Saro’s story is one for the movies. Their love for one another poured from the pages.

However, I do feel that it’s necessary to say that this book is not solely about Tembi and Saro’s story. It is about Tembi’s life following Saro and how she adjusts to her new life with their daughter, Zoela. There are two pages in the book that really stuck out to me; it was as Tembi was discussing all of the aspects of Zoela’s future that she wanted to experience. It was so heartfelt and poetic.

Tembi’s story is one that I will always carry with me. I plan to read this book again and again as I feel that it will always apply to different chapters of my own life. I also will be making the recipes from the back of her book and will always think of her and Saro and the love that shared and continue to share. I can only hope that one day I will be able to appreciate food the way that Tembi does. And to taste food that is so deeply rooted in its culture.

“Just one mouthful told the islands entire sensuous story: sun, wind, earth,
morrish and European, it was fantasy buried in reality”

If you are looking for a new book to read, I recommend this be the first one that you pick up.  It is my favorite book of 2019 and has made it on to my top five favorite books list. Thank you, Tembi Locke, for writing such a deeply touching and poignant story about your life.

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