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Tender at the Bone

Narrated by: Ruth Reichl
Length: 6 hrs
4 out of 5 stars (340 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Tender at the Bone is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and defined in equal measure by unforgettable people, the love of tales well-told, and a passion for food. In other words, the stuff of the best literature. The journey begins with Reichl's mother, the notorious food-poisoner known forevermore as the Queen of Mold, and moves on to the fabled Mrs. Peavey, one-time Baltimore socialite millionairess, and, for a brief but poignant moment, retained as Reichl's maid. Then we are introduced to Monsieur du Croix, the gourmand, who so understood and stood somewhat in awe of this prodigious child at his dinner table that when he introduced Ruth to the soufflé, he could only exclaim, "What a pleasure to watch a child eat her first soufflé!" Then, fast forward to the politically correct table set in Berkeley in the 1970s, and the food revolution that Ruth watched and participated in as organic became the norm. But this sampling doesn't do this character-rich work justice. And, after all, this is just a taste.
©1998 Ruth Reichl (P)1998 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Too bad it was abridged

I feel compelled to read the book to see the authors full story. I don’t think it should have been recorded abridged

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book! Why abridged Audible?

Where does Tender at the Bone rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is a terrific story of Ruth's early years. Why, oh why, is it not available unabridged? I kept wondering through the whole book, " what am I missing?"

Who was your favorite character and why?

Has to be Ruth then her dad, lastly her mother.

Have you listened to any of Ruth Reichl’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Gripping story of a journey in food

Any additional comments?

I love listening to Audible. This is my first abridged and probably my last. You're cheating the author and reader of a full, wonderful book!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

It was fine, not great

I guess I should have paid more attention to where I was in the book, but it didn't seem to have a climax, it just ended suddently.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful

I loved the variety and depth of her life, in addition to the joy of listening to a fellow gourmand. Goes great with Peter Mayle's books.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • MC
  • 12-30-12

This is Why Authors Shouldn't Read Their Own Books

Would you try another book from Ruth Reichl and/or Ruth Reichl?

I really like Ruth Reichl's books. I've read this one before, as well as Comfort Me With Apples and Diamonds and Sapphires. However, I do not recommend this recording. Reichl reads her own work and her tone is dull, even though the material isn't. So, you end up thinking that this is a boring book, when quite the opposite is true.

Additionally, it's abridged, so there are characters who seemingly pop up out of nowhere and others who disappear. One can only assume that they leave or arrive in the expurgated sections.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Tender at the Bone?

There are great scenes here-- some involving her mother, who suffers from bipolar disorder, others overseas in France and Italy, and still others in the hippy age at Berkeley. All are funny and touching, while satisfying the needs of bibliophilic foodies.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ruth Reichl?

Anyone! The sound recording itself is bad, which could be part of the problem. This sounds like it was taken from a tape in the 1980s. Bernadette Dunn does a terrific job on the UNabridged version of Garlic and Sapphires (Reichl, unfortunately reads the abridged-- check both samples and see which you like better, though Reichl is more animated there than she is here). This book needed a professional actress to carry the story along.

Could you see Tender at the Bone being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I could see it being made into a movie, but they would need to include Comfort Me With Apples for a more clear picture of the scope of this woman's very interesting life.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Title sums up both a theme and her topic.

Reichl's earlier memoir is both heartbreaking and clever. The daughter of a bi-polar mother, she exhibits all the emotional distress of these children but deals with them mostly with humor. Later, in "Save me the Plumbs," she manages to resolve one of her major symptoms of having grown up with a mother who was always changing. I'd advise reading "Bone" first and then "Plus."

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story but bad recording

This is a wonderful book by Ruth Reichl and I love the fact that she narrates it. My only complaint is the quality of the recording is very poor.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Perfect book to listen to while cooking!

I was happily surprised that I liked this book just as much if not more than Comfort Me With Apples. Reichl is a natural born storyteller who easily and masterfully paints rich scenery from the memories of her life. And she does it while also giving you vignettes of foods and meals that make your mouth water!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not all the lessons learned at the table

The author is a gifted cook and writer who tells of her upbringing in the most colorful fashion. Perhaps there is something added to the bare recollections to enliven them up but that is all part of the art of being a successful chef. Again and again she builds a situation we are expecting to end in disaster, but the worst fails to happen. By the last chapter, though, you are wondering whether all the brushes with catastrophe might have bruised her sensitive soul more roughly than she should have had to endure, but it isn't much of a spoiler to the story when the moment of redemption arrives then too. This is the section where the description of actual dishes is allowed to take center stage, more than in the anecdotes which led up to this moment, and it is a sort of revelation. The food in the first and last chapters are portrayed as opposites: tossed off without forethought vs. lovingly crafted, life-threatening vs. life-affirming, and you can see the journey from the former to the latter in the episodes in between. There is an appreciation of the triumph of mastery over one's ingredients that speaks to us in a way more primal than in the other arts, which the best food writers can communicate to us without having a way to transmit the actual flavors and textures to us as readers. At the same time, she injects a splendid sense of comedy which serves to give the book lightness.
Having the memoir read by the author is a fine bonus as well, because it gives her natural storytelling voice an added chance to come through.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book!!!!!

What a great escape into a delicious read! It’s hard to believe the editor of Gourmet magazine lived this life! Her storytelling and love of food is out of this world.