I submit this review as a warning to other readers so they won't be surprised as I was, having had no idea from the description provided by Audible, of what I was getting into when I downloaded this book. I thought it was going to be more focused on the professional aspects of being a restaurant critic, and the concomitant adventures thereof; ---something along the lines of Anthony Bourdain. What I was very surprised to find instead, was the autobiography of a gay man focused on his neurotic obsession over his weight and appearance.
The book begins by telling a beautiful family story about his privileged upbringing, in a fully-functional family unit, with two whole parents providing for a robust childhood, complete with an elite education and ongoing good relations with immediate and extended family. Rare and wonderful so far, until the part about his being gay slips out of the closet after several chapters.
While that was an unhappy surprise for me, it has yet to be fatal. He has not, so far, gotten preachy or gross (I'm not quite halfway through, so I'll say not yet) or ground any political axes on that account, but there's just enough gay love story going on already, that I am not sure if I can get through this or not. His endless occupation with food and it's effect on his appearance, like the most annoying girlfriend you've ever had, for chapter after chapter, is grating, though he seasons his telling with just enough family goings-on and the occasional mention of his profession, to stave off despair.
So, since I've "read" this far, I haven't given up yet, because the book is well written and at least fractionally interesting, though (another correction here to the audible description) not the least bit "hilarious". The author also seems like a nice enough guy that you want to give him a chance. There's also the hope that in the rest of the book, he might yet forget himself, stop wallowing in his bittersweet personal life, and move on to his profession
A rollicking trip through history, exploring the origins and underpinnings of Western philosophy and thought, and the circumstances that led to Ireland being in a unique time, place, and position to play it's special role. Interesting, well written and paced, very entertaining history!
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