The trick to reading this very good book and not having a possible negative reaction (which is obvious in the varying reviews) is to refrain from judgements of the author, if possible, and just be enveloped in the story. Because, if you can avoid being infected by the candid and bitter details of a disappointing marriage--(the kind of inner and not so flattering feelings one usually shares only with their oath-sworn-to-patient-privacy shrink)--you will experience sensuous settings in far off places, refine your inner gastronome with exotic foods you've never heard of before, and almost taste "that lamb" as it sizzles over the rosemary scented fire. It really is a lovely epicurean trip that makes me want to lick my fingers as I recall some of the fare, and I could spend a day just conjouring up images of that castle/farmhouse, the meadows, orchards, and streams, the French ballet dancer mother with her omnipresent apron, the artistic bohemian father, the Italian villa, Rome by night--all the perfect ingredients.
The personal details are inarguably prickly; I found them uncomfortable yet brave admissions that lend authenticity to the story of this very authentic person. Coming from Hell's Kitchen tyrant Gordon Ramsay, or bad-ass Anthony Bourdain, the snarkyness would probably be expected and overlooked, like a mint leaf on mousse.Hamilton writes like she cooks and like she lives: committed, authentic, undiluted, without pretense...and that takes bravery--the kind of bravery one would expect from a young girl that can set off with a back pack and a little over $1,000 on a solo trip around the world. My opinion is that her narration lends a bit of personal revelation, which adds to the story. Glad I got around to this one.
Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
This book is quite different from any of the other foodie memoirs I have loved - I don't want to make it sound like I look down on the others. I really enjoy food writing. Anthony Bourdain's books, Julia Child biographies, Ruth Reichl's books, Laurie Colwin's essays and Jacques Pepin's memoir are all among my favorites. This book, like those, is about the author's relationship with people and with food. It starts with poignant memories of a childhood interrupted and is haunted by that rupture. I started the book without suspecting what an amazing writer is Gabrielle Hamilton. Even more important for an audiobook, she reads the book herself, something that usually turns me off. Yet Hamilton's reading is excellent and one of the greatest charms of this audiobook. I couldn't bear to stop listening. Truly a pleasure on many levels, one of the best books I have listened to this year.
Nothing I love more than a well-rounded character and intense plot.
Well-written, sharp, wry, sarcastic, genuine, at times heartbreaking, and full of a lifer's experience as a restaraunteur. Gabrielle Hamilton is not to be missed - nor messed with. From the quickly described recipes to climbing the oleander for Mama, Gabrielle poingantly describes her life's journey as a daughter, mother, sister, chef, writer and woman - she'll have you laughing right along with her.
"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." --Lemony Snicket
I read Blood, Bones & Butter last year and loved it so much that I recently listened to it for the chance to re-visit Gabrielle Hamilton's world (and hear her story in her own voice). The author's childhood was not an easy one - and the beginning of this book reminded me very much of The Glass Castle, another memoir of a successful woman with an unorthodox upbringing. But Hamilton is unflinching in telling her life story - and I appreciate her guts and her honesty, as well as her ability to write beautifully and cook masterfully. And speaking of the food... The wonderful, decadent descriptions of the food and Hamilton's cooking experiences (especially in Italy with her mother-in-law) make this a truly worthwhile experience.
As one reviewer on Amazon said, this is one of those books that must be savored in one sitting. Bourdain was most definitely not paying mere lip service when he claimed to be "choked with envy". The story is like one luxurious feast prepared by a chef who does not mince words, and who may strike some (even the new fan that I am) as rather grating at times. But the book would have been better served by a professional reader (w/ the author reading the foreword or a brief intro to the book), although the narration did improve in the second part of the book.
One of my favorite audiobooks, mostly because of how closely i felt i could identify with the author
Descriptions of the parties her parents threw at her childhood house.
An autobiographical book being read by the author brings a whole new level of understanding to the reader about the persona of the author/main character.
When she visits her mother later in life with her own family and, in a way, forgives or makes peace with her memories.
I would especially recommend for women, those interested in cooking, Italy or with lives or loved ones that bring them between Europe and the U.S.
Some reviewers haven't liked the author's voice or style. Its her partricular personality; I loved her dry wit. She's not an actor; her voice lends layers of experience and edification to the craft. Having cooked my whole life, I can relate to her experiences with food and even her mother! I recommend this audio book wholeheartedly; it ended much too soon.
Not only a wonderful story magnificently written about an interesting life but the audio book is beautifully read by Gabrielle. It's impossible to miss even the smallest emotion and meaning in her words. A very rich experience for which I very grateful to have had the time to gobble up in just two listening sessions. Now I'm just hoping she can find the time to so fully live another lifetime of which to write another book.
I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this book -- I thought it was going to be one of those "my life in the kitchen" books, but I was really wrong. It is a wonderful autobiography -- describing family events leading to life events leading to life decisions, all centering around good food. I am going to listen to this again in a few months! Wonderfully written, narrated by the author.
I enjoyed every moment of this book. Part foodie journey. Part ultra-personal memoir. Hamilton has a style and an ease to her writing that is extremely accessible and real. Zero pretense. Lots of flavor. Her narration was a little flat at first but then she picked it up, or my ear got used to her style. Either way, I fell into this book and never wanted to have to climb out.