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Harlot's Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece Paperback – 1 Oct 2008
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Submerged into stories of immigrants, their superstitions, their habits,food, traditions and interactions,
I found myself nodding in agreement, recognizing events of my youth, smiling and crying with her....
This is not a dramatized account of a battled life, but an elegant, touching, funny account of events that many women still find themselves courageously confronting.
In Harlot's Sauce I have found many emotions, but above all a beautiful lesson of life. Fabulous read.
Very well observed account of the culture and crazy families. All of it is true - the crazy Athens traffic, the families living and dying all one on top of the other without ever leaving the neighbourhood, the "She's just trying to help" arguments about mothers in law coming in and cleaning/rearranging the apartment when you're out, the energy-draining miserable expat wives.
Also the great people and the family members who embrace you as one of their own, a beautiful country and a new attitude to life. Moving to Greece was a transformation for me too and though it took me time to adjust, I now defend the Greeks and Greece as ferociously as a local when expats start moaning.
My in-laws now look like saints. Thank you for this book, it was touching and so well written. I'm glad I picked it up in Athens airport. I'll be recommending it to my friends, Greek and non Greek, back in Athens.
Harlot's Sauce follows Patricia Volonakis Davis from her childhood with Italian parents and all the traumas that can bring, through her frankly disastrous marriage to a Greek, her move to Greece to try and make him happy and the breakdown of this relationship. It sounds like depressing stuff when you read it like that but it isn't, it's peppered with funny little anecdotes, the sort of thing you'll recognise as seeming positively tragic when they happen to you but which are funny when you look back.
The book draws you into Patricia's world and you find yourself making a real connection with the author as she stumbles through an utter shambles of a relationship. You get angry as her appalling mother in law manipulates and undermines her and find yourself raising an inner cheer when she finally stands up to her. You laugh as she describes the funny little everyday happenings in Greece and marvel at the fact that an intelligent woman could kid herself for so long.
All in all I found this a warm, funny, entertaining book which struck a chord. Anyone who has been out with someone whose mother was foul, anyone who looks back on a past relationship and thinks "why?", anyone who has ever struggled with issues of identity and anyone who loves a fabulous read with a happy ending - this book is for you.
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