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Monday, August 22, 2011

Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

Hi there readers!

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Last week...well, the last FEW weeks, months even...have certainly had their moments to forget and well, I'm going to try and start this week out with a clean slate.  Yesterday I shared a peek inside my shopping bag (otherwise known as the mailbox post) for the past two weeks, and let's just say I'll be adding to it this week with a trip to our local bookstore.  Yep...one can never have too many books....at least that's my motto.  ^_^


There comes a time in every bloggers life when things just get hectic and despite out best intentions, things don't always go as planned.  To what am I referring?  Ah, patience is a virtue for a reason dear friends..it is indeed.  (hehe...just kidding....it is but I won't keep you in the dark)  I'm talking about those books that you've either picked up on your own or received unsolicited, read, notated, and MEANT to review, but as the days went by and other obligations stepped out of the shadows....they fell by the wayside.  Not to worry my friends, they are still in my mind (and notebook...gotta have that handy when I'm reading) and ON my mind and I won't let them be forgotten.  So, if you see a title or two here and there that you don't recognize from my "recent" reading, it's probably from this phantom batch but rest assured they are well worth a look.

With that being said, today's review comes from that batch and is ready to share the spotlight.  Without further adieu, today's book of choice is...

by
Gabrielle Hamilton

Quite the title, is it not?  Definitely gets your attention...as does that cover art.  O_O  Suffice it to say that after reading this book, I will never look at a chicken the same way again.  (~never~)  It's star quality as a fabulous read have been toted by the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali, a feat in and of itself...but I can definitely see why it would be right up their alleys.  The frankness and lapses into memory whether or not the outcome was positive or negative and the family connection to both food and location; two different sides of the very same coin.  It's a no holds barred look at the life and times of the author from the kitchen window of life...and it wasn't always a picturesque view.

It's what I would call a "foodie" memoir as it has that central line of a love of food (and its handling) right from the start.  Life and love join in the recipe along the way but the food of the moment always creates a searing memory that lasts a lifetime.  I will say this though, it is NOT for readers with a finicky stomach.  There are many times when events are being recounted and the author takes off in a full romanticizing of the slow roasting of small animals in all its blood and sizzling glory.  My preference...the cooking and final product, but not the before stage....but to each their own.  It's clear the author is passionate about her life work and so it serves as a vehicle by which she can share that with all of us....more power to her.

Now for a two point punch....the good and the not so good.  FIRST, the good...around page 90, the author finally had me.  The story about her time spent at camp really caught my attention.  Despite my never having gone to camp nor knowing the characters with which she spent her time personally, I could envision it clearly...smell the smoke of the campfire, here the insects in the night air, feel that fear of a bear lurking nearby (O-O).  It all came together for me right then and there allowing me to be fully vested in the story instead of merely a bystander.  Gotta love it when that happens.  Now for the second punch....

One thing that struck me a little off center were the run on sentences.  Now grant it, I know I'm guilty of doing the same thing a time or two but in this case it made my reading progression a little headache ridden.  When a sentence is literally an entire paragraph (we're talking 8-10 typed lines or more), you tend to lose the meaning of it before you ever reach the end...or at least I do.  The ideas were certainly warranted but perhaps in a little more abbreviated format.  Just a thought. 

In summary, though I wasn't grabbed by the hostess and seated at the finest table in the restaurant, I still enjoyed my bookish meal.  The passion with which the story is shared is energizing; the personal tidbits that some would have simply glossed over, touching.  You get a feel for the real world of a female chef from the bottom up.  It's gutsy.  It's bloody.  It's life in all its vivid colors and tastes laid out before you as a banquet for your mind.  Certainly a recommended read for fans of the memoir genre but also a great pick for any aspiring chefs out there.  Your journey may not be the same, but it never hurts to hear from someone who's "been there, done that" and not afraid to reveal the lessons they learned along the way.

ARC for review received courtesy of Random House.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog, be sure to visit them online.  To check out an excerpt of the book, click right here and you'll be taken to the book's website for a sneak peek at what you're in store for.  To learn more about Prune chef/owner (and author) Gabrielle Hamilton, be sure to visit the official book site.

Until next time...happy reading!


5 comments:

Linda said...

I recently picked this one up from the library. Great review. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Rebecca said...

oh my...quite the title, and quite the subject matter...can't decide if this is something i'm brave enough for or not, LOL! it sounds really, really interesting, but i really *don't* "handle meat well" (no really: i actually have gotten sick-to-the-point-of-puking-in-the-grocery-store from the meat counter...it's weird, but also hilarious, and very werid), haha...hmm...decisions, decisions...

GMR said...

Linda: Really? How cool. Would love to know what you think of it once you've finished! (...and thanks for the kind words!)

Rebecca: LOL...I know what you mean. ^_^ But ooh...yeah, the adversion to meat might make this one off limits for you.... O_O

....Petty Witter said...

What an interesting title, I can't help but think that the cover lets it down though.

GMR said...

Petty Witter: Yes, the cover is perhaps not its "best friend" but it does encompass the story ironically enough. The best and worst that life can offer served up on a platter of truth.

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