Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor
Rating: 4 Stars
Description: At 28, Jessica Fechtor was happily immersed in graduate school and her young marriage, and thinking about starting a family. Then one day, she went for a run and an aneurysm burst in her brain. She nearly died. She lost her sense of smell, the sight in her left eye, and was forced to the sidelines of the life she loved.
Jessica's journey to recovery began in the kitchen as soon as she was able to stand at the stovetop and stir. There, she drew strength from the restorative power of cooking and baking. Written with intelligence, humor and warmth. Stir is a heartfelt examination of what it means to nourish and be nourished. (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: Food, healing, how could I pass it up?
My Impression: I had a strong idea of how this book was going to go before I started reading it. I thought this would be more from post-aneurysm and her talking about the foods that people brought her, that she craved, or that she made as soon as she was able. But when I started reading that wasn't what I found. Not that what I found was bad it just wasn't quite what I expected.
We start with Jess lying on the floor after falling off a treadmill. And follow through the tests and the diagnosis and the strategies, through rehab and being back home and then more tests and more theories. As someone who has never really had any health problems I could identify with her complete disbelief of just how little she would be able to do while recovering. If someone told me I'd be lucky if I could get through a shower as my sole even to the day I don't think I'd believe them either.
I loved her interaction with her family and how strong her bond with both her mother and her stepmother is. This is a good person surrounded by good people who shows incredible strength and fortitude in a situation that would probably make me want to pull the blankets over my head and cry. The book itself is told mostly in present day but with flashbacks of how she met important people in her life or back to important memories. For the first few chapters this felt a little jerky but it does smooth out.
Now you may have noticed I haven't mentioned food yet. Despite a strong mention in the blurb and the subtitle food doesn't really stand out for me. She talks about food quite a bit and there are a scattering of recipes throughout the book but when I think about this book the food doesn't jump out. The people do. When she talks about Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies it isn't so much the cookies but WHO brought them and WHO she remembers making them with. I can't taste the food she describes but I can hear the sound of the laughter of a dinner party or feel the wooden spoon in my hand. I don't want to try Marcella's Butter Almond Cake but I'd love to meet Amy!
Towards the end of the book the food gets a little more prominent and does play a bigger role in Jess's recovery but when I think about this book I will think about the people and the strength. While this isn't the book I expected it is a book I enjoyed
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes I would. I found it a fascinating read.
I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads
Challenges Met? Foodie Challenge - Memoir