This is the most interesting and compelling book I have read since Cutting For Stone, my all time favorite, ever. There are many reader reviews that express discomfort with the rougher parts of the author's life. This is certainly understandable but don't let that stop you from enjoying this finely written and exquisite memoir. The professional reviews attached to the publisher's summary are all right-on. Read and enjoy!
well-written, engaging, unexpected
As a memoir, it's kind of all over the place, but it works - probably because Gabrielle is a great writer. This book has a bit for everyone - and if you appreciate well-written stories, then you'll enjoy the whole thing. It felt like a mash-up of "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain, "The Glass Castle," by Jeanette Walls, and "Orange Is the New Black," by Piper Kerman. If you liked any or all of those books, then this is a must-listen.
Not in one sitting - but it went a LOT faster than how I normally listen to memoirs.
When I finished with the book, I had to google Gabrielle to see what she's been up to since the story ended, which says a lot about how invested I became in her story. Interestingly, all the twists and turns in the book seem to pale by what's happened in her world since - if the garbage published in the society pages are to be believed.
Say something about yourself!
I haven't connected with an author, with a book like this in a very long time. As a former restaurateur myself and woman, she tells her story beautifully. Food service isn't an easy life but her passion is exemplary. It reminds me of my passion and the passion of others like me. Someone who truly enjoys food, appreciates food and relishes restaurant work is enlightening. Thank you Gabrielle for shining a light on women who are badass but more than that get shit done, do their time and earn respect. I have never eaten your food but I wholeheartedly believe that you are one of the best chefs I have never met. Given my 20+ years in F&B I've met some amazing cooks and amazing people, I will count you as one. I will also recommend your book to any and everyone I work with and meet. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Delicious, consuming, intriguing..
The stories about business and food preparation in her restaurant and her trips to Italy, but mostly her superb writing ability. The descriptiveness of her words, even when writing about banal things, was just like eating the best chocolate dessert ever, all the way through.
Loved it. loved her.
I wanted more. I didn't want it to end. I loved her in the end and wanted the story to keep going.
I read this because it was recommended by a good friend. I am not into the chef/restaurant/foodie scene at all, and so expected not to like this. I was pleasantly surprised. This woman's life is simply an entertaining story even if you're not that into the food parts, and the food-related parts are surprisingly "accessible" (I don't really cook but didn't feel like anything was over my head).
The book unfortunately takes a nosedive in the final part of the story, where the focus is on marital discord and the resulting bitterness. But the parts before that make listening to this book worth it.
Considering she's a chef, and not a professional audiobook narrator, Hamilton does a respectable job.
I've heard Gabrielle Hamilton speak. I've heard her tell stories, swear and chat with cooks. My experience with book seems to be quite at odds with other reviewers. I found the story itself boring, with odd turns of phrase that might have been illuminated by a quality author narration. I did not find the narration helped the poor story along at all.
LIstening to Anthony Bourdain talk about Gabrielle and about how she should write a book and how great it would be was far more entertaining and endearing than the actual product.
To have a good chuckle.
There are many- the overall feel of the truth of the story is the most memorable.
Her voice carries her feelings that simply reading the book could not convey.
Excellent book. I first became aware of G. Hamilton while listening to The Splendid Table. She has such a genuine personality, accepts herself as she is and only wants the "real thing" from everyone else in return. This book, and the author, offer a realness that is not usually found because few people have the courage to share it.
More than bargained for...
This is the best chef's memoir I've ever read, and I've read a few. It actually ranks high among memoirs in general for me, not just those related to the culinary world. I found the story of her life and work fascinating. Gabrielle Hamilton's voice took a little getting used to, it's not quite monotone, but a little flat.
The non-plussed attitude of the author bothered me at first, but I fell into a fascinating story. Some memoirs are boring - this one worked for me.
Protagonist rallied repeatedly from difficult situations, always remembering the things that mattered most to her from her childhood and family (mother particularly). The fact that the happiness came full circle over many years gave a satisfying summary.
Her experiences while working in the summer camp, and the misplaced trust in the other counselors. Least interesting - overly detailed description of too many aspects of the journey.
No....because her reaction to almost every event was "that's the way it is" there was no one major "turning point" event, unless it was the divorce of the parents, or the description of the dead rat in the stairway behind the restaurant, that gave the book a suspenseful or extreme character.
Not a genre that I generally read, but it was touching in an indefinable way, and good to see that it finally had a satisfying resolution.