I love to read cookbooks, it's one of my life's greatest pleasures, and it's how I relax. When I flipped open Nourished by Lia Huber, I was expecting a cookbook with some personal stories attached to each recipe, but it was the exact opposite. It is a memoir with a couple recipes included.
Now before I delve further into my review, I should alert you that I recently traveled to Guatemala on a mission trip. It was a life-changing experience and one I hold dear to my heart. So when the Prologue begins by describing a scene in Guatemala where the primary language is Kaqchikel (the indigenous dialect of the Mayan people and the primary language for many in Guatemala), I was shocked and immediately intrigued. I started reading hungrily, both for the story and the recipes.
The story follows the adult life of author Lia Huber and in four parts tells of her adventures through illness, finding faith, becoming a mother, and discovering how food can truly nourish mind, body, and soul. Lia is an unlikely but accomplished food writer, entrepreneur, and recipe developer. Flipping through the pages I learned of Lia's wanderlust spirit, her thirst for meaning in life, and her craving to somehow leave a mark on the world - many of the traits I too meditate and pray about regularly. I could relate in many ways to Lia's story, and she was able to transport me to places I've never been because she is a beautiful wordsmith. I truly enjoyed her elegant descriptions of the foods which sustained and excited her and I appreciated the shared recipes at the end of each chapter.
I found the memoir to be a lot like my blog since it focuses on the struggles of motherhood while finding meaning outside the home, how faith has changed and sharped her perspective, and the necessity to remove yourself from comfort zones to experience richness in life. All beautiful and relatable things, but perhaps a little lengthy for a memoir; the hardbound book is over 300 pages long. I can certainly see the value of Lia sharing her personal story and unselfishly giving readers a glimpse into her genuine struggles, however; I lacked a connection to her character, even though the book was all about her. There were several times people were introduced but with little to no background and I found myself lost in a sea of unknown characters, which was slightly disorienting.
After finishing and reflecting on the book, I think the message is there, and clearly, Lia is a talented writer, but overall this one missed the mark for me, and I really wanted to love it. I think if I met Lia I would have so much to chat with her about ranging from the adoption of her daughter from Guatemala and her continued work in that region of the world, her passion for healthy eating and how food can revitalize your body, and her faith walk and her unwavering commitment to discern God's will in all her decisions, but when it comes to the book I am less enthused. Overall I give this book 3.5/5 stars.
If you liked the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia then this book will be right up your alley since it follows several of the same themes.
What are some of your favorite books from 2017? Have you started planning your reading list for next year? If you are on Goodreads, I'd love to connect with you. You can find my profile here.