Starting from Scratch
Touchstone, Aug 3 2010, $15.00
Food has always dominated the Tschetter family. When the matriarch Vivian dies, her husband and four adult children toast their beloved with food that provides them with some comfort.
The youngest twenty-seven year old single woman Olivia, who just defended her dissertation, was the closest to their mom so she struggles the most with her departure. Olivia shared everything with her mother and not just their love of cooking. Although her dad and her siblings worry about her, Olivia returns to her childhood home and replaces her mom as the hostess at family get-togethers.
Starting from Scratch is a strong introspective family drama that is mostly seen through the eyes of Olivia. The death of the matriarch impacts her loved ones differently though all mourn their loss. The older siblings worry about their youngest sister who is the most like their late mom. Olivia’s “chats” with mom enable the reader to comprehend why she is cherished in death as she laws adored and loved in life. Ironically though food is a prime healing ingredient, the recipes feel intrusive as this is a great psychological character study primarily focusing mostly on grieving as a personal emotional reaction to the death of a loved one although there is also insight into the psychology of siblings. Susan Gilbert-Collins provides a discerning powerful tale.