My takeaways from reading Paula Butturini’s memoir, Keeping the Feast:
- I want to go to Rome
- I want to shop in an open market
- I wish I were Italian or at least had some Italian friends who cook
- I am hungry for fresh fruit and vegetables and for homemade pasta
- I better understand depression and what it means to love someone who suffers from it
- I am grateful for the simple ritual of eating a meal with my family and the bond that is forged through it
Keeping the Feast is beautifully written. Butturini’s prose is so beautiful! It “sings”! Her account of one seller’s produce at an open market in Rome, the Campo dei Fiori, is enough to make even a non-foodie like me yearn for asparagus of all things! I don’t even like asparagus!
When tragedy strikes not even a month after Butturini marries her husband John, John’s physical and emotional anguish transitions into a deep depression. They return to Rome, the place they met and fell in love, and Keeping the Feast is the story of the repercussions of chronic depression and how the simple rituals of life can inspire hope.
Keeping the Feast is a beautiful book, which may seem a strange description given the darkness of depression that is the backdrop of Butturini’s memoir. Depression is a darkness indeed, a fact that Paula describes in pain and heartbreak, yet Keeping the Feast is ultimately a chronicle of recovery, the food and the beauty of Rome inspiring hope and healing.
I’d to thank Putnam books for sending me the review copy!
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….
Jennifer, Snapshot says
Oh this sounds SO wonderful. I’ve seen it around and was interested, but I saw some lukewarm reviews (along with some good ones).
I LOVE this kind of food/travel/self-exploration type of memoir.
Paula Butturini says
Lisa, I just found your review of my memoir, Keeping the Feast, and wanted to thank you not only for reading it so closely and deciding to write about it, but especially for noticing that it is — despite everything we went through — a ‘chronicle of recovery,’ as you say. Though it may be about clinical depression, it’s not meant to be depressing, but instead about hope. One of the main reasons I wrote the book was to try to make our our children understand everything that happened to their father, and in the process give them a road map through and out of depression, should it ever strike them. All of us hope it might help other families going through very bad times. I bet you’d like asparagus if you made them with the wet lettuce leaves, as I describe in the first chapter. They’re done five-six minutes after you put the lid on…
This sounds like a book I definitely need to read. I have 2 family members that battle depression. It’s something I’m not sure people can fully comprehend unless they themselves or someone very close to them suffers from this debilitating condition.
What is it about Italy? Could it be the food, the beautiful landscape of places like Tuscany, the architecture? I have read at least half a dozen novels set in Italy, and they have the same affect on me. Books like Under The Tuscan Sun, Eat, Pray, Love and The Last Promise are just a few that make me want to drop everything and hop a plane to Italy. My 16 year old son even wants to go.
Colleen (Books in the City) says
Rome is one place I really want to travel to – thanks for your review! This books sounds great!