FROM SCRATCH by Tembi Locke


A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home
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In her literary debut, actor and TEDx speaker Locke offers a warm memoir of romance, wrenching loss, and healing.

Studying in Florence for a semester abroad, the author met Saro, a handsome Sicilian chef, whose sincerity and kindness, as well as “sultry” good looks, won her heart. “I think we could be something great,” he told her, conjuring “a vision of an us and greatness so effortlessly that it suddenly seemed as right as butter on bread. I was taken aback by his boldness, his certainty.” When Locke returned to college, Saro visited as often as he could, and finally he left his position, prospects, and—most wrenchingly—his family to move to the United States. They married hastily in New York with only a friend as witness; at a later celebration in Italy, though, his family refused to attend, disapproving of Saro’s marrying anyone but a Sicilian—especially a black American woman. Soon the author understood why Saro put off to the last minute telling his parents that he was leaving Italy to marry. Locke’s family, on the other hand, “progressive, barrier-breaking Texas black folks,” were delighted—especially her father: Boisterous and gregarious, he arrived in Italy dressed “in full Texas regalia, complete with cowboy hat, denim pants, and alligator boots.” Her family wholeheartedly “claimed him as their own,” while Saro’s family’s disapproval haunted the early years of their marriage. Locke portrays their life together as otherwise idyllic: They moved from New York to Los Angeles in order to foster her acting career, and they adopted an infant daughter—until Saro's diagnosis with a rare cancer changed everything. By then, the couple’s relationship with Saro’s parents had thawed somewhat, and when Locke and her daughter returned to Sicily to bury Saro’s ashes, they were nurtured—not only spiritually and emotionally, but with traditional, and abundant, Sicilian food. The author includes recipes at the end.

A captivating story of love lost and found.

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5011-8765-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


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