Last updated on November 4th, 2022
A Memoir of Love, Sicily and Finding Home
By Carolyn Ray, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, JourneyWoman
This month, we’re off to Sicily with a memoir written by Tembekile “Tembi” Locke, an American actress who has appeared in television shows and film. Locke’s memoir, From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily and Finding Home is about her transracial romance with her Italian husband and her grief after his untimely death. This book was chosen as a Reese’s Book Club pick and New York Times bestselling memoir and is being made into a Netflix limited series starring Zoe Saldana. Locke will serve as executive producer, along with Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine.
This is such a beautiful love story but it’s also a story of resilience and adapting to change. The stories about Sicily had me itching to go there – to Stromboli, Agrigento – not to mention Florence! I loved the part where she talks about her dreams for her daughter, Zoela, and herself:
“Grief exhausted me, but it also made me want to live. It made me appreciate the brevity of life. I wanted to be around. I wanted to know how things would turn out for Zoela, the extraordinary human being who called me her mammina – little mother…. I wanted to learn something new from someone I have yet to meet. And I wanted to be able to know that I could see unspeakable pain and know that it, too, would change me but not undo me. I wanted to journey to beyond where my eye can see and greet the self who carried me forward to get there.” (Pages 245- 247)
About the Author
Tembi Locke is an actor, activist. and advocate. Her onscreen career began with the iconic comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Today you can find her in roles on The Magicians, Proven Innocent, NCIS: LA to name a few or on the big screen in the upcoming feature film, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (2019). You can see more on her website here or watch her “What Forty StepTaught me About Love and Grief” 2015 Ted Talk here. Read more on Wikipedia here.
Your book club co-hosts, Wendy and Carolyn, invite you to dress warmly and join us at our monthly book club on December 15 at 8 pm EDT, for a facilitated discussion, its themes, and to share our travel experiences. Our book club operates on a Pay-What-You-Can model. We thank you for your generosity and kindness.
Book Club Discussion Questions (Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 8 pm EDT)
1. What was your favourite part of passage of the book and why?
2. Have you experienced loss similar to Tembi’s? Was travel part of the antidote for you?
3. What did you link of the title “From Scratch”? What had been your experience with Sicily prior to this book? Does it reinforce or change any perceptions you have of Sicilian life?
4. In her quest to find belonging within Saro’s family and in Aliminusa, Tembi must navigate barriers of language, race and class. As a traveler, have you ever felt like an outsider, and what did you do to find mutual understanding and respect despite seemingly insurmountable differences?
5, How does Temib’s definition of ‘home’ evolve throughout the memoir? How do you define ‘home’ and has the pandemic affected its importance to you?
6. Tembi speaks of the passage of time: “I had three marriages to Saro: the one we had experienced as newly-in-love married people; the one we had spent in the trenches of surviving cancer; and the one I had with him now, as his widow.” What do you make of this statement and her reflections on the passage of time. Did it cause you to reconsider your own relationships?
7. How does Nonna and Tembi’s relationship evolve over the three summers depicted in the book? What were the major turning points that bring them closer? Did your impressions of Nonna change while you were reading it?
Featured articles on Italy
Susan Van Allen, author of ‘100 Places In Italy Every Woman Should Go‘ tells us what she puts in her suitcase when she sets out for Italy.
American Journeywoman Rebecca Bricker shares her best tips and must-see attractions in Florence, Italy.
When I need travel advice I go to the experts I meet online. For this travel tip article, I consulted with females (and one delightful guy) on Twitter who have an Italian connection.
Your Imagination Can Take You Places
Now more than ever, we're finding camaraderie and inspiration through novels. Join us each month as we discuss a different book, suggested by our community, about a faraway land.