Cherries in Winter


Cherries in Winter: My Family’s Recipe for Hope in Hard Times
by Suzan Colon
978-0-385-53252-5

Suzan Colon was not surprised to be laid off in 2008, but she was dreadfully disappointed. The great recession had begun and many people were losing their jobs. Colon decided to make the best of what she had, especially since she was able to recognize that others had a far worse situation than she. Colon’s husband still had his job, and she was able to get occasional freelance writing jobs. However, with frugality and the example of her grandmothers, she would make it.

Suzan wrote this brief memoir about her experiences from 2008 to present. She tied it all together by using recipes from her grandmother’s library. The recipes are plain, basic, and hearty — home cooking that will give her strength to get through these hard times. She shares her family’s stories throughout the book and usually related in some way to the recipes.

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This is a sweet book. It has an interesting topic, and it will make you interested in looking into your own family history. Colon makes her relatives come alive. An unexpected, but welcome, character is New York City. Colon describes its environs and the advantages of living in an urban location that is combined with gorgeous ocean front property. New York City is a force in her family’s history that shapes their opportunities and hardships.

The message of this book can be summed up in just a few words: “Enjoy the blessings you have.” Luckily, Colon described it and showed her intent without spelling it out. Also, Colon carefully, and successfully,┬átread a thin line between touching and saccharine. Her family’s story demonstrates that good times come and go, and worry often doesn’t accomplish a thing.

Despite these obvious strengths, this book hasn’t stuck with me. It’s been over a week since I finished this book. Rather than its stories, I’m compelled to remember what the book made me think about my family. Does this mean the book was successful or not? Obviously, it struck an emotional chord, but if I don’t feel inclined to revisit it, has it succeeded?

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy memoirs or to anyone going through hard times of their own. It has an uplifting message and is well written.

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About shortlibrarian

I am a woman working in the Twin Cities as a programming Librarian.
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