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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Blog Tour: Keeping the Feast by Paula Butturini

Keeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing in ItalyKeeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy by Paula Butturini is my first venture into the world of blog tours. When I was first approached to join I thought that this would be a book that I would love. Love, Food, Italy? What's not to love?  I did end up liking it, but I wasn't totally blown away by it.

Keeping the Feast is the story of a couple of face tragedy almost immediately after their wedding.  John is reporting on a political uprising in Romania and is nearly killed by a sniper.  The newlyweds spend the next three years or so recovering from his injury and subsequent depression. Each chapter begins with the author's memories of a special food or dish from her youth that is supposed to relate to the remainder of the chapter, which is about John's injury or healing.

So. I feel almost guilty saying this, but I didn't think it worked.  I didn't think it flowed well from food story to life story. Last year I read and reviewed A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wisenberg, and I think it did a much better job of both writing about food and connecting it to the author's current life. I didn't really get hooked on the story until page 152, and I am unsure if I would have finished if it hadn't been for this blog tour. I felt the author's strongest writing was in the beginning when she was talking about their jobs as journalists, which only makes sense, as that was her job.

I hesitate to even say the following, but the focus of the book is her husband's descent into and out of depression, and while I know everyone's experience is different and this is her's (holy disclaimer Batman!), I am put off by some of her beliefs. Her mother also struggled with depression and the author repeats several times that it was the medications for depression that pushed her mom off the edge. She and her husband refuse to ever consider medication, and she makes a very strong point that many people are on drugs who shouldn't be, and that American doctors in particular like to prescribe drugs more than Italian doctors. I know this is her experience, but I am very turned off by a book that is almost entirely about someone's experience with depression that criticizes the use to medications that help so many people.

So there ya go. I did love the parts about Italy, but I wasn't blown away by the book. You can find other reviews on the tour that are much, MUCH more positive than mine at the following blogs:

Monday, January 18th: Tripping Towards Lucidity
Tuesday, January 19th: Park City Girl
Wednesday, January 20th: Baking Delights
Thursday, January 21st: Brunette on a Budget
Tuesday, January 26th: Farmgirl Fare
Tuesday, January 26th: Farmgirl Fare author’s recipe
Wednesday, January 27th: Booklust
Thursday, January 28th: Booklust (Rosie’s Riveters- guest post)
Tuesday, February 2nd: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, February 3rd: Dolce Bellezza
Thursday, February 4th: Caribousmom
Tuesday, February 9th: Books, Lists, Life
Wednesday, February 10th: Book Addiction
Reading Series at Books on the Brain- Date TBD

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by the publisher.

I am an Amazon Associate. As such, any purchase you make at after following a link from this blog will earn me a (tiny) percentage back as income. Thanks.


  1. I'll be reading this soon, and I've been really excited about it. After your review, I've lowered my expectations, which is probably to my benefit.

  2. Thank you. I can't deal with depressing stuff right now, so this is good to know.

  3. I had a different experience with the book than you did (I loved it!), but I have to admit I kind of missed the negative spin on medication for depression (once I read your review I realized that yes, she was anti-medication...but for some reason I breezed right over that in my reading of the book). I work in the medical field, and have experienced I agree with you that medication can really help. But, on the other hand, I think this was an alternative view of getting through depression - and somehow it resonated with me. Sorry the book was a disappointment for you - I thought you did a good job of giving it a fair review :)

  4. I haven't read this book but I do agree that Western medicine leans heavily upon the designer drug. However, I've found that with depression, there is no other way to regulate the chemicals since depression is in and of itself, a chemical imbalance. If a pill can make you sane, or close to it, it's got to be better than the alternative.

  5. Gotta love an honest review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one :)

  6. I am glad that you posted a review because now I will not be reading it. I don't need anything Debbie Downer during the winter:)

  7. I thought your perspective was interesting. I also had a different experience, and didn't really see the negative view on medicine. I enjoyed your review, very honest.

  8. Given the life story, I was wondering if the recipes worked with this one. I'm reading this next.

  9. Thank you for such an honest review. Some topics just don't work well together and it sounds like this one didn't blend well.

  10. I have this one here to read but haven't yet had time to dive into it. I'm sorry it didn't work for you but I will say that your counterbalanced review will help me not expect more than the book can probably provide. I'll be curious to see if I see the same misconnect between the two threads.


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