Starting from Scratch

Starting from Scratch

4.6 12
by Susan M. Gilbert-Collins

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In this heartwarming debut novel with recipes, a grief-stricken daughter cooks herself and her family back to life.


In this heartwarming debut novel with recipes, a grief-stricken daughter cooks herself and her family back to life.

Product Details

Center Point
Publication date:
Edition description:
Large Print Edition
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.69(h) x 1.05(d)

Meet the Author

Born and raised in South Dakota, Susan Gilbert-Collins studied English at Oberlin College and holds an M.A. in English as a Second Language from the University of Minnesota. While she enjoyed teaching international students and adult immigrants, she now freelances as a technical writer in order to have more time to focus on her first love, fiction. She lives with her husband and young son in Rochester, New York.

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Starting from Scratch 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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. Harriet Klausner
debhgrty More than 1 year ago
Deb’s Dozen: Olivia and her family, plus friends—consumed by grief, consoled by cooking. Olivia Tschetter has just successfully defended her doctoral dissertation when she learns her mother, Vivian, has died. Vivian was the  only one who knew that Olivia was going to do her defense, and now she can’t tell her mother that she succeeded. At home, not talking about her studies, but cooking up a storm—Olivia tries to cope with her grief. Her family suggests counseling to get her out of the house, so instead Olivia takes her sister Annie’s place at the local Meals on Wheels and becomes a part-time volunteer. Along the way, while delivering meals, she meets an old friend of Vivian’s. And along the way we get to know the rest of the family as well as the family secrets. Susan Gilbert-Collins writes in a very erudite fashion as she leads us through Olivia’s story. She takes us inside Olivia’s mind—we read  her thoughts as she’s thinking them—almost in stream-of-consciousness style. Olivia, obviously well-educated (she’s a Ph.D. after all even if her family doesn’t know), also loves cooking. We’re treated to some delicious recipes as Olivia works her way through her grief. You will find Olivia’s story compelling. I enjoyed reading about the foibles of the people at Meals on Wheels and their clients. I could understand her thoughts and reluctance to deal with Vivian’s death. When my mom died, I had to change her room out immediately— to keep busy so I could survive my grief at her loss. Olivia finds being busy a solution too—keeping occupied with Meals on Wheels and with cooking. Being inside a character’s head so deeply makes for a challenging, but rewarding, read. Four stars. Susan Gilbert-Collins gave me a copy of Starting From Scratch in exchange for my candid review.
alykatdesigns More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this story. Got caught up in the personalities of the characters, thinking about them as I dozed off to sleep and when I first woke in the mornings! Looking forward to trying some of the recipes. Especially enjoyed the book's setting, Brookings SD, as I live near that community. Wonderful read, will be fun to discuss at book club!
DKayM More than 1 year ago
What a great way to learn about the grieving process. I highly recommend this book for any age.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story line. Didnt like ending. Left alot hanging
Trishinomaha More than 1 year ago
I love any book with an incredibly good story and the recipes included are the icing on the cake. This book is a look into a somewhat complicated family but all the characters are so well drawn you feel as though they really are all still living up there somewhere in Brookings SD and getting on with their lives. I highly recommend this book if you like a good story - it's hard to put down. More please Ms. Gilbert-Collins!
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