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From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by [Tembi Locke]
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From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 957 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“This beautiful memoir takes us on Tembi’s personal journey of love, parenthood, and ultimately the loss of her husband, Saro. She learns to heal in the most beautiful way—through the support of three generations of women—and yes, there’s Italian food. Lots and lots of Italian food!”—Reese Witherspoon

“An utterly incandescent love story. Tembi Locke has written a deeply personal tale brimming with hope and inspiration. There is both great beauty to be found within loss, and also the opportunity for transformation for those who let life truly break them open. In this unforgettable memoir, Tembi shows us how powerful—and ultimately uplifting—that journey can be. You will be forever changed for having turned these pages.” —Claire Bidwell Smith, author of Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief

"How does your love for your husband grow as a newlywed, a wife, a caregiver, and a young widow? How do you survive a love that was worth waiting for out in the rain? To try, Tembi Locke climbs volcanoes, cooks, and communes with her husband’s family in a small town in Italy. Sicily, A Love Story is a heartbreaking, but reassuring memoir of forgiveness. And Locke is a strong, joyful woman; a veteran actor who it turns out is a poet." —Helen Ellis, bestselling author of American Housewife

“A marvelous memoir about taking chances, finding love, and building a home away from home. In Sicily, a Love Story, Tembi Locke writes movingly about loss, grief, and the healing miracle of food.” —Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account

“In her literary debut, actor and TEDx speaker Locke offers a warm memoir of romance, wrenching loss, and healing...A captivating story of love lost and found.” Kirkus Review

“Tembi Locke's moving, vivid memoir is an epic cross-cultural romance, a tragedy, a tale of self-discovery and, best of all, a testament to the simple healing powers of good food.” Shelf Awareness

“Actress and TEDx speaker Locke movingly describes the process of grieving and finding solace during three summers in Italy after the death of her husband...Locke’s raw and heartfelt memoir will uplift readers suffering from the loss of their own loved ones.” —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Tembi Locke is an accomplished actor who has appeared in over sixty television shows and films, including The MagiciansNCIS: LAAnimal Kingdom, and Dumb and Dumber To. She is also a TEDx speaker. Her talk, What Forty Steps Taught Me About Love and Grief, traces her journey as a cancer caregiver. She is the creative voice behind The Kitchen Widow, an online grief support community that has received mentions in The New York Times and The Guardian. The author of From Scratch, she lives in Los Angeles with her young daughter, but can be found each summer on the island of Sicily.

Product details

  • ASIN : B07MGS7X6Y
  • Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (April 30, 2019)
  • Publication date : April 30, 2019
  • Language : English
  • File size : 4058 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 353 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 957 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
957 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gut-wrenchingly beautiful and sad
By Abby Kincer on May 22, 2019
A heartbreaking memoir about incredible love, tremendous loss, and leaning on the comforts of family and food to survive.

While studying abroad in Italy, Tembi meets Saro. Their relationship flourishes quickly and their epic love affair begins in the streets of Florence. In LA, they make a life together. It’s clouded by the knowledge that Saro’s parents don’t support his marriage to Tembi - a Black American. Saro’s rare cancer diagnosis is the beginning of their end. When he dies, Tembi must learn how to survive - for herself and for her daughter. The unexpected comforts of Saro’s Sicilian hometown, his mother, and her authentic cooking help net navigate grief and the vast possibilities of life after Saro.

This book is amazing - so heartbreaking and wonderfully written. The structure is uniquely dynamic, and Locke’s life stories are exceptionally interesting. Books that make me cry are my favorite, and this one made me weep. In particular, Locke’s descriptions of Saro’s final days left me breathless. A very compelling theme, belonging, is prevalent throughout the novel. Neither Tembi or her daughter are white or Sicilian, so they stick out like a sore thumb on their visits. Do they belong in Sicily or this family when Saro is no longer around to bridge the gap? Locke also plays with the connection between food, comfort, and growth quite a lot - it welcomes guests, cures sadness, and nourishes the body like nothing else can. Deeply symbolic and equally mouth-watering, I love this aspect of the book. From Scratch is such a special memoir. Beautifully written and exceptionally heartbreaking, I think it will touch your heart as it has mine.
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29 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2019
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4.0 out of 5 stars “In Sicily, every story begins with a marriage or a death. In my case, it’s both.” ~Tembi Locke
By CMitch on July 9, 2019
3 words: love, food, grief

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home is Tembi Lockes’s story. You may recognize her name from television, movies, and Ted talks. She’s an actress as well as an advocate for comfort during times of illness and grief. At first I picked this book up because of the setting being in Italy. I like to read books set in places I’ll be traveling, and we’re cruising there this year. Within the first few pages, I realized this book had more to offer me than just a glimpse of where I’ll be visiting.

While she was working in Florence, Tembi met, fell in love, and married Saro, an Italian chef. Saro and his family taught her about food. Food from the fertile land, homemade tomato sauce, fresh made pasta, eggplant parmesan, olive oil made from olives grown on the family’s land, lemons, herbs, and so much more. Their love story is deep, having taken place between Los Angeles, where Tembi worked as an actress, and Sicily, where Saro was born and raised and worked as a chef.

Saro’s traditional Sicilian family wasn’t happy with him marrying a black American woman, and during the beginning of their marriage he was estranged from them. After Saro was diagnosed with cancer, his family moved back into his life. They also began to accept Tembi and their adopted baby girl, Zoela.

After Saro’s death, Tembi finds comfort by traveling with Zoela back to Sicily during the summer months. The book chronicles 3 of the summers. She creates a special bond with her mother-in-law, Nonna, as they walk through the grieving process. Grief from the death of a husband is something I’ve lived through in my life. I could relate to Tembi as she wrote about her suffering. I could remember the pain I endured.

I loved that many phrases were written in Italian, and reading in context I was able to understand the meaning. This was brilliant. The memoir includes recipes that Nonna taught Tembi to cook. In these recipes Tembi finds the healing power of food and family.

From Scratch is a beautiful story of a deep love, the flavor of food, and the heartbreaking grief that follows when one loses a spouse. It’s also the story of Tempi’s strength as she walks through the fog of grief and into the light of a new beginning.
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16 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on May 29, 2019
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22 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2019
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14 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on June 19, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars A love story ,not just of a couple . The love of family their history and of Sicily.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 3, 2020
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P. Gordon
3.0 out of 5 stars Can there be TOO much grief? Yes. This is NOT 'When Breath becomes Air'.
Reviewed in Canada on January 29, 2021
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shirley denise
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing which evokes deep feeling
Reviewed in Canada on June 6, 2019
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4.0 out of 5 stars Moving memoir
Reviewed in Australia on November 4, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just beautiful
Reviewed in Australia on September 18, 2020
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