Ten years ago, author Rebecca Barry and her husband Tommy decided to create the life they dreamed of; one that was driven by work they loved and things that mattered to them—good food, friends, literature and art, family, natural beauty, and an excellent coffee shop within walking distance. They moved to upstate New York near Rebecca's family and bought a wonderful old house with rental units in a small town surrounded by farmland and vineyards. Rebecca got a contract to write a novel. Their small children played in the back yard with the children of their new friends, and Tommy began work on a business plan to start his own magazine. Everything was falling into place.
Of course, the simple life they envisioned took a bit more work than first anticipated: the lovely old house they bought had character but required costly repairs and constant upkeep (including pipes that froze in the winter and needed to be defrosted with a hair-dryer); financial struggles proved to be time-consuming and caused stress and arguments; their two young boys, although sweet were, after all, boys, and refused to sleep or play quietly; and the novel Rebecca wanted to write simply wouldn’t manifest on the page.
In Recipes for a Beautiful Life Barry offers readers authentic and heart-warming reflections on the messiness of day-to-day existence and the journey to building not just a beautiful life, but a creative one. Lauded as a “remarkably natural, charming and wise [writer]” (Booklist), Barry has created a compilation of candid “How To” pieces, ranging from "How to Get Your Children to Go to Sleep" (wherein her children do not go to sleep) "How to Lose Your Baby Weight" (wherein she decides to get some exercise by riding a bike attached to a Burley with her son in it, but he yells the whole time so she ends up deciding to buy some new clothes that fit) and "How to Organize Your Bathroom" (wherein the chlldren break the shower rod by swinging from a curtain.) A memoir "readers will relish" (Booklist) from an author who is ""sly and very, very, funny" (Julia Sweeney, author of If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother) Recipes for a Beautiful Life makes a strong case for not having it all, but rather enjoying the grace that comes from giving in to a messy house, unruly dreams, and living with small people who seem to know everything, but sometimes refuse to wear pants.