08 July 2009 ~ 0 Comments

(Book) Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece by Patricia Volonakis Davis


Note: There will be a giveaway and an ultra cool interview with the author coming to this blog tomorrow, so stay tuned to learn more and maybe win a copy of the book! For a look at the author’s thoughts on San Francisco, visit Sally Around The Bay, who did a great interview with her recently.

Those that know me, know that I love memoirs. I love to read about other people’s lives (the good and the bad) and enjoy hearing about other places… okay, and I like knowing that there are families out there that are more screwed up that my own, okay?

This book was funny, self-depreciating, harsh, light, sad and so much more. The writer has the ability to make you laugh right along with her, yet was able to step back in hindsight and see what she did wrong. The ability to laugh at one’s mistakes and faults is an amazing gift. Her descriptions of Greece make me want to visit there. Her descriptions of her family and ex-husband’s family made me sad.

I thought she seemed really harsh when talking about her mother-in-law, I wonder how the family feels about her writing this and some of the things she had to say about them. At times, truthfully, it seemed overly hard. I say that, but… it also lent authenticity to her story. I mean, a lot of women don’t like their overbearing in-laws (and after she had the kid, *I* wanted to strangle the woman myself!), so perhaps that brutal honesty really was needed in this book.

I do hope she releases another memoir, the ending wrapped up too quickly and I want to know about she and her son’s assimilation back into the US, what happened after she moved… it wrapped up too quickly, I didn’t want it to end.


When Patricia, the Italian-American, marries Gregori, the “gorgeous” Greek, she spends almost two decades in a sometimes tragic, sometimes uproarious pursuit of ‘Happily-Ever-After’. In a last-ditch effort to make their relationship work, Patricia moves with Gregori to Greece, where he insists he must be in order to be happy. Once there, she discovers that though she might not save her marriage, she just might save herself. We follow the narrator, as she describes in self-deprecating and side-splitting detail how growing up first-generation, blue-collar, Italian-American influenced her choice of mate, the naiveté of her perceptions throughout their courtship, her hapless, yet hopeful years amongst her new Greek relatives, and her eventual self-actualization brought about by the intriguing time spent in her adopted country – Greece. With vivid descriptions of life in modern-day Greece, this memoir is both a tasty treat and an exhilarating sail on the Hellenic seas through xenophobia, dysfunctional family units, religious ravings, obsessive protocols, political disorder, European football, and fabulous food. As the Italians say, Buon Appetito! (Good Appetite!) As the Greeks say, Kalo Taxidi! (Good Voyage)


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