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My Life From Scratch
Gesine Bullock-Prado
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My Life From Scratch

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,234 Ratings  ·  359 Reviews
Previously published as Confessions of a Closet Master Baker.
227 pages
Published 2009 by Broadway books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 15, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I was given this book the first thing I asked the person who gave it to me was, “Why’d you get me a book about baking? I’m a vegan.” And I was told it was because from what she’d seen, the author loved baking; people, not so much, just like me.

I really started liking the book right out of the gate, with the mention of the nightmare inducing book Struwwelpeter, which my sister and I were also subjected to (by our non-German family) when we were kids. Bullock-Prado does a nice job of weaving
I really wanted to say I enjoyed this book because I loved the entire concept. However, in order for me to really dig deep into a memoir I need to feel a sense of connection to the writer. I absolutley commend her for leaving a high profile job to follow her dream in becoming a professional baker. However, she just didn't sound like the warmest person and in some cases came across as down right arrogant. I began to wonder if she is quite the smart a-- and I am just not understanding her humor? A ...more
Feb 20, 2010 Lindsey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The alleged charm of this book was lost on me. The lauded opening, "I saw the devil at age three and he gave me chocolate. It changed my life forever," is followed by the clunker, "And in the end it was the example of unlikely angels and the power of confections that led me on a sweet path to happiness and grace in my adult life," to close out the first chapter. Shudder. That's oddly saccharine for a book you named "Master Baker" with bawdy intent.

Despite the structure of each chapter being an
I don't mean to insult the author when I say this, but I suspect that the biggest reason this book was published is that her sister is (very) famous.

I've seen it written -- and I believe -- that memoirs are published for one or more of three reasons: the writing is brilliant, the author is famous, or the story is unique. In this case it seems to be fame-by-proxy.

It's not that the writing's bad -- the stories are cute. The story isn't tremendously unique -- lots of people switch careers -- but it
Jul 12, 2010 Joanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars might be a little much but I really, really enjoyed this. I read it in a weekend-no small feat considering it was my son's 4th birthday.

I took this book out from the library not realizing it was written by Sandra Bullock's sister. I'm not so dim that I couldn't have put two and two together-there was a "New Book" sticker over the top where the author's name was written and I didn't really look much closer until I finally started to read it.

I don't know that I would have picked this up a
Amy Meyer
Nov 11, 2009 Amy Meyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone especially bakers
Recommended to Amy by: Review copy
Title: Confections of a Closet Master Baker
Author: Gesine Bullock-Prado
ISBN: 978-0-7679-3268-4
Pages: 223
Release Date: September 2009
Publisher: Broadway Books
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Publisher: As head of her celebrity sister’s production company, Gesine Bullock-Prado had a closet full of designer clothes and the ear of all the influential studio heads, but she was miserable. The only solace she found was in her secret hobby: baking. With every sugary, buttery confection to emerge from he
Mar 09, 2013 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, baking-cooking
This is a wonderful little book which I savoured over two weeks (pun intended!). Gesine, the author has a passion for baking and using quality ingredients which is felt throughout the book. Each chapter of the book is an hour in the day of a professional baker, starting at 4.00am when she stumbles out of bed. At the end of each chapter she includes a wonderful recipe. The memoir is part reminising about her childhood in Germany, her German Opera singing, vegetarian, marathon running mother and h ...more
Tattered Cover Book Store
Jackie says:

This book had me at it's very short but very memorable first paragraph: "I saw the devil at the age of three and he gave me chocolate. It changed my life forever."

Gesine (pronounced geh see neh--don't mess it up because it makes her crazy when you do) had a glamourous Hollywood life running a production company with her sister Sandra Bullock. Red carpets, "doing" lunch, meetings and schmoozing made up her daily life. And she was miserable. To make herself feel better, she turned to
Nov 07, 2009 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved, loved, loved this book. It's not just about the fact Gesine is Sandra Bullock's sister, or her life in Hollywood, or the pains of starting/running a bakery in Vermont. It's about family and making people happy with good food and the memories we all have when we smell something specific baking or cooking and how sometimes that smell can even hurt a little because we miss that person so much.
This book is lovely. Gesine sounds like several people I know--not a people person, but has some
Jul 17, 2014 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming little baking memoir by Sandra Bullock's own sister, Gesine, who quit her job as a high-power Hollywood exec and pursued her dream of owning a bakery in Vermont. I enjoyed the narrative of Bullock-Prado's book and how she structured it, and some of her observations, though spoken with a somewhat opinionated bite, I felt were dead-on (I loved her response to vegans, personally). There were many of her memories I found myself nodding my head with in complete understanding - I loved the ...more
Amanda Morgan
Jun 25, 2014 Amanda Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once a high-powered Hollywood movie executive, Gesine Bullock-Prado was never very happy with her career. She used to sit in meetings and create recipes and grocery lists. Eventually, Bullock-Prado took control of her future by taking the plunge out of Hollywood and into Montpelier, Vermont, where she opened her own small bakery.
However, being sister to the famous Sandra Bullock, Gesine’s bakery, Gesine Confectionary, didn’t stay a small little sweet shop for long. In “Confections of a Closet M
This was one of those books sitting on my TBR for so long I had forgotten what it was about and why I added it. I vaguely knew from the book description that it was about a woman running a bakery who had a famous sister. It wasn't until the mention of "Sandy" that I realized, Oh duh, Gesine Bullock-Rrado is Sandra Bullock's sister. Thaaaat makes sense, what with the last name and the author photo where you can see the resemblance.

Still can't remember for the life of me why it was added to my TBR
Note: If you are looking for this book in paperback, they changed the title. It's now called "My Life from Scratch." I've never seen that before, not sure why....

Gesine takes the reader through the day of a baker, starting at 3 a.m. and all the goings on during this time. Each essay ends with a recipe that she talks about making in the chapter, clearly written for even the novice baker. I found this book to actually be a love letter to her mother and the city of Montpelier, Vermont. A self descr
Nov 03, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, food
My friend Glenda recommended it, but I wish I had found it before getting a diagnosis of hypoglycemia. Oh, my. So much white flour, butter and sugar. I skipped the recipes and focused on Gesine's cranky wit. As someone who has perfected the art of kvetching myself, I appreciate her world view. She's a bookish gal, so she does a good job creating a word-wrought path into the mind of a baking artist. I could never live her life, but I admire the passion and dedication she brings to her bakery busi ...more
Jul 13, 2009 Turi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn't what I expected.

I was expecting a self-absorbed, boutique-ey book about someone who fancied themselves a baker.

Instead I was plunged into Gesine Bullock-Prado's memoir of her exodus from the shallow Hollywood world she had found herself in, to a self-created temple of baking delight in Montpelier, Vermont.

This is DEEP baking. Her grasp of why baking matters, what in means to the baker and the consumer, is breathtaking. There is sadness, joy, excitement, boredom,and life here.
Aug 16, 2012 Kaitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was wandering through the bookstore one night last December. Picking up gifts here and there, looking for nothing in particular. At the end of my trip, just as the store was about to close, I went to make my final purchases. I was tired, I was in a hurry ... and this book called to me from the little stand by the cash register. It said to me, quite plainly, "You need me."

I bought it in an instant. Without thinking, without even fully reading the back cover. Simply by the title and the feel of
Jim Gullo
Mar 04, 2013 Jim Gullo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading baking memoirs lately, since I've been madly fantasizing about taking my present wild infatuation with home baking and turning pro. Could I really start a cake bakery in my town? Buy a catering truck and go mobile? Become a doughnut king? The first book I tried, entitled "The (Faux) Pastry Chef," was an utter dud, written by a woman who had some industrial baking jobs and felt the need to complain about every single place she ever worked, with mesmerizing details of her workers ...more
Patrice Sartor
I didn't realize initially that this is written by Sandra Bullock's sister, or that the 'Sandy' in the book referred to her. I mention this up front because it really doesn't matter. While Sandra Bullock is mentioned, it is only through the natural course of Gesine telling the tale of how she started her bakery. Name-dropping can be annoying at best and gratuitous and nauseating at worst, but this never felt like name-dropping, I'm happy to say.

Gesine has a lovely writing style, and a sharp wit
Oct 28, 2009 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Gesine Bullock-Prado's memoir of leaving the rat race in Hollywood to open a bakery in Vermont. It comes complete with the usual funny mishaps and quirky characters. I think what I liked best about this book is Gesine herself. Far from the fat, jolly baker, she is impatient, caustic and sometimes not too sure she actually likes people all that much. What she does like is baking. She lives and breathes it, obsessing over the perfect cherry pie or macaroon. Opening a bakery she learns she ...more
Memoir about girl brought up by German mother and Oma, and American father. Grows up, gets job working in Hollywood with famous sister. Hates Hollywood and the culture of shallow, image -obsessed entertainment types. Doesn't really like people all that much, would rather bake the treats that remind her of her beloved mom and Oma. Gives Hollywood the finger, moves to Vermont with husband and dogs and opens a bakery.

Gesine writes with such love about what food means to her, and how it has always h
Mar 18, 2015 Kathleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Despite it's odd structure, so-so writing, and clear stink of privilege (I'm not too sympathetic to the start-up trials and tribulations of business owners funded and promoted by the Hollywood elite), I was sort of on board with this book. I always like a story about someone finding her calling and pursuing her dreams (even when those dreams are bankrolled by your sis). But I just couldn't get behind the weird chapter about Bullock-Prado's disdain for fat people and her attempts to make her bake ...more
Mar 29, 2013 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really respect people who recreate their lives when they have available to them the credentials and the avenue to establish the prototypical vision of American success. As an attorney, as a member of her sister's production company, Gesine could have coasted through several decades of life, but she tore up her life to follow her bliss even though that meant working as hard as a brick layer.

Her writing is honest and flows easily. It's a quick read, but the images of her creations continue to li
Apr 18, 2011 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir slash cookbook features a woman who is a baker who happens to be Sandra Bullocks sister. The book has both recipes which sound delicious but oh so fattening as well as text. The story itself itself is very meandering and not sequential at all which makes it difficult to follow. I enjoyed the random illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. This author is very opinionated
In her views of Vegans!!
Nancy (essayist)
I ended up liking this food memoir more than I thought I would. The author is Sandra Bullock's sister. That fact was interesting enough to get me to start reading, but it certainly wasn't enough to KEEP me reading. Luckily, Bullock-Prado ultimately won me over. She does a good job of describing both the soulless world of Hollywood and the quirky town in Vermont where she sought refuge from her former life as a movie producer. She also writes appealingly about her love of food, especially baking ...more
Rachel Jacobs
Feb 29, 2016 Rachel Jacobs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up as a recommendation from Goodreads...I had no idea it was written by Sandra Bullock's younger sister. That isn't terribly important to this story as it is a fascinating read about the author Gesine (Geh-See-Neh) and her desire to move from the fast paced Hollywood life to rural Vermont.
Gesine does a fantastic job of spinning her tale and providing some very delicious recipes to go along with the book (I am a big fan of getting recipes when I am reading a food book).
I was di
Nov 05, 2010 Shelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chris, I'm glad I saw this on your bookshelf! Found it to be an honest, inspiring memoir. Worth reading for the Golden Eggs recipe alone.
Kara Thomas
I really wanted to like this book, really, I did. But, I didn't. Not very much. This book is written by Sandra Bullock's sister, who left Hollywood because she hated it, and opened her own bakery. It started out okay, but it really didn't flow for me. Plus she is ornery and contradictory and it comes across in her writing. Some parts were funny and sweet, but over all I got nothing out of it. Plus, at the end, she doesn't seem all that much happier than she was in Hollywood. Going as far as sayi ...more
Victoria Stevens
Aug 04, 2013 Victoria Stevens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the book. Probably 15 WW Points Plus just for reading it. YUM
Oct 14, 2015 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Life from Scratch is the memoir of Sandra Bullock’s sister, Gesine, who makes a life change from working in Hollywood to opening her own bakery in Vermont. She makes the switch after not feeling satisfied with her work.. so she decides to follow her passion of baking instead. She writes about the struggles that she faces as a bakery owner, her interesting customers and how great it can be to make a life change in order to be happy.

I have to say that I loved the illustrations at the beginning
Janastasia Whydra
Eh. <----- This is my initial reaction to Gesine Bullock-Prado's Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman's Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker. Although, perhaps a single word is not a fair review. There were some exceptionally good chapters in this book, but the majority of it seemed to be filler. I enjoy reading rich details, but reading the process of how to prepare ingredients or bake pastries in the narrative and again in the recipe that foll ...more
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