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Memoir of the Sunday Brunch

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3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  684 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
For Julia Pandl, the rite of passage into young-adulthood included mandatory service at her family's restaurant, where she watched as her father - who was also the chef - ruled with the strictness of a drill sergeant. At age twelve, Julie was initiated into the rite of the Sunday brunch, a weekly madhouse at her father's Milwaukee-based restaurant, where she and her eight ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published February 24th 2012 by Createspace
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
There are two parts to this review. If you just want to know about the book, read as far as the line across the page. Below the line is a personal, semi-related story.

Rating = 3.5 stars

Wisconsin, 1970s and '80s, Catholic family, nine kids, the dad owns a restaurant and runs it with exacting standards. All of the children are required to pitch in at the restaurant, especially for the lavish Sunday brunches. That's the first half of the book. In the second half, Julia jumps forward to her adult y
...more
Jeanette
Jan 18, 2016 Jeanette rated it really liked it
This hit home. And not only on the work ethic, joke style, or Catholicism minutia categories either. But in the spirit of family and commitment twice over. Her father's tong rule at the restaurant! Sibling and parental marriage stories too; I did LOL.

And the second half of the book also. Same honest personal and intimate stories for the good-byes. Such repayment to parents as seldom viewed (by myself anyway) any longer.

The style was hyper and over the top. Which at times caused me to lose the on
...more
Page Edmunds
Oct 04, 2012 Page Edmunds rated it it was amazing
Oh how this book took me by surprise (as I sniffled and wiped away tears while sitting at an airport bar between planes). I fully expected the funny growing-up-in-a-family-restaurant stories, which didn't disappoint. But I was unprepared for the beautiful second half of this book, a story about being an adult daughter and sibling when your parents begin to age and fail. The Pandl family is unforgettable, and their story is told with great humor and affection. Even though theirs is a family where ...more
Book Concierge
Julia Pandl was the youngest of nine children born to Terry and George Pandl. Her father ran a very popular restaurant in a suburb of Milwaukee WI that was particularly famous for Sunday Brunch. At the age of 12 Julie began working in the restaurant – without salary. Her first job was “pick up the parking lot” – ridding the asphalt of used cigarette butts and discarded candy wrappers. Once she was done with that her sister set her up on a 5-gallon pickle bucket turned upside down, gave her a pil ...more
Diane
Mar 01, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
Julia Pandl is the youngest of nine children born to George and Teresa Pandl. Her dad owned a restaurant in Milwaukee, and every Sunday each child was expected to work the famous Sunday brunch. She recounts this life in Memoir of the Sunday Brunch.

I have to tell you how much I loved this book! You not only get an insider's look at what a tough life the restaurant business is, you also get a wonderful, honest look at life in a big Catholic Midwestern family, and Julia's relationship with her toug
...more
Carl Phillips
May 16, 2013 Carl Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a really good book, a good balance of humor and love. Pandl's writing just seems to flow, good description to which I could relate. She was not always complimentary of her parents, particularly her father, but her love for him comes through during his final weeks as he was dying of cancer.
Lisa B.
Nov 11, 2012 Lisa B. rated it really liked it
My Thoughts

Part I of this book was hysterical. I mean laugh out loud, slap your leg, tears rolling down your face funny. Ms. Pandl has an ability to take normal, everyday activities and make them very entertaining. As the youngest of nine, she had lots of material to work with.

Part II was a 180 degree turn around. While there was still some humor, this part related to her family as her parents got older. She talks about the effects that diabetes had on her Mom. She writes about her relationship
...more
Jay
Dec 06, 2012 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard one to review. I ended up liking the story from the start, but.... Given that the blurb on the book says it is like "Kitchen Confidential", I was expecting that kind of insight into the restaurant. The title implies that too. But this book did not have that kind of calling -- the restaurant, the diners, the food, the work, the other employees (except her father) really felt like backdrops to a coming of age story. There were a couple of funny buffet anecdotes, but really not what ...more
Arlena
Author: Julia Pandl
Published By: Algonquin Books Of Chapel Hill
Age Recommended: Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Blog For: GMTA
Rating: 5


Review:



"Memoir of the Sunday Brunch" by Julia Pandl was a simple well written memoir that I did enjoy. I found myself laughing at a lots of this funny and heart warming read. This is just a wonderfully written personal memoir of Julia Pandl's family growing up in the Pandl Family Restaurant business. This memoir pays great attention to this eccentric father, George.
...more
Lisa Hall
I picked this book up expecting one of those "insider" books - the real inside look of what it was like growing up in a restaurant and how the restaurant business works. What I got was a rather sweet memoir that was more about family, a family that happened to be headed by a restaurant owner. Sure, the author worked in the restaurant on Sundays (why she was not there the rest of the week, I don't know), but the first part of the book was as much about her 8 siblings as anything else. The second ...more
Diane Yannick
Jun 30, 2013 Diane Yannick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This lady can write....and tell a great family story. She paced the story in a way that allowed the reader to gradually come to know her parents. The truth was often in the smaller details rather than the big stories. She used a writing technique that I loved---repeating single words or phrases as an occasional refrain. It made me slow down and savor the sensual image she was describing.

Pandl's restaurant was a Milwaukee landmark for many years. George and Terry Pandl had nine children to help o
...more
Peggy Graves
I enjoyed this book very much. Milwaukeans love all things Milwaukee, so the book will have a ready, willing and able readership. Julia Pandl caught the essence of Milwaukee and her family's significant role in it.
At times i felt she was a bit self-indulgent giving me more feeling than fact. The book is more about Julia than Pandls. More about her dad than mom. Julia is the youngest of 9 yet she sounds like the one and only - certainly Daddy's favorite? I am the youngest of four and was the onl
...more
Catherine
Aug 17, 2015 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I absolutely loved this book. I laughed and cried. It is most of all about being a daughter. I grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same catholic school and church but truly think anyone would enjoy this wonderful book.
Roneice
Sep 30, 2014 Roneice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was not expecting only half of the book to be about the author's Sunday Brunch experience!
I must admit a bit of confusion as I began reading the second half. The stories of siblings working the Brunch, the Fatger's control of the kitchen, serving positions, keeping a fast pace with the customers, disappeared. These were replaced, with no warning, with the history of her mother's illness; her Catholic upbringing: and her father's thriftiness, beyond reason, using very outdated food in their own
...more
Esther Marie
Apr 02, 2013 Esther Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I enjoyed this book, but was, (and am), confused at the marketing employed by the publisher. The first half of this book deals with growing up in a family that owns a restaurant, (humorous and entertaining for those working in the industry), and the second half covers Pandl's care of her elderly and dying parents, (also relatable, though to a different demographic). Pandl's father, George, is the true focus of this novel, but you'd never guess that based on the back of the book or even the summa ...more
Cindy
May 26, 2013 Cindy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did not like the writing style of the first half of the book. To me it read like a smart alick teenager talking. That got old really fast. The second half, when her mother dies, she writes in a calmer usual style.

I thought it odd that she referred to her Mom & Dad by their first names.

The book is all about her growing up & then about her parents dying. There is nothing of significance about the ins and outs and behind the scenes of the restaurant world.

I thought the book was boring, b
...more
Malachi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheryl Gerrard
Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood, or else I missed something, but I didn't "love" this book... It was enjoyable reading but it definitely didn't change my life for the better or for the worse having read it. It was "Zippy" meets Ruth Reichl with a few poignant memories in between. I enjoyed the author's description of her growing relationship with and understanding of her father and could appreciate her depiction of a house where there are so many kids, but I didn't find any reason to give ...more
Christine Emery weidner
I very much enjoyed this book on a number of levels. First, being from the locality where the book is centered was particularly entertaining and familiar. I too am from a large family and some of the references were hilarious and uniquely true to bigger groups of siblings. The transition of perspective from that as a young child to that of a caregiver to aging parents is also tender and insightful. Charming book. Easy read.
Deb Mj
Jan 31, 2014 Deb Mj rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit to being pretty disappointed by this. I expected a book detailing the inner workings and lunacy of the family restaurant, but got very little of that. It was, instead, more about family and their approach to religion than anything to do with food. It wasn't at all offensive, but the inside didn't deliver what the blurb on the jacket promised.
Debbie Stone
Jan 10, 2013 Debbie Stone rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
The first part of this book, I loved. Pandl wrote about working in her family's restaurant, growing up in a big family, and growing up in the late 70's and 80's. In the 2nd part of the book she wrote about the illness and death of her parents. While much more melancholy, her love for her parents/family shines thru and still makes you smile.
Ashley
Dec 16, 2013 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe if I knew the restaurant and family I would have liked this story better. It was a true memoir about a big family that ran a restaurant but the restaurant part was hardly in the story. I thought it would have a bigger part but that was my assumption. Wouldn't recommend unless you know the family or restaurant that this story is about.
Sherry
Nov 12, 2012 Sherry rated it really liked it
This was a book club choice.... Very funny,poignant and you love the big Catholic family. We invited Julie Pandl to speak to our book club. She is like a stand up comedian in fact I believe she does do stand up.
This book has laugh out loud spots and areas that bring tears to your eyes. Quick read and worth your time.
Janice Liedl
Apr 22, 2013 Janice Liedl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really tried to like this book but it was like pulling teeth. Maybe it's more me, but I love memoirs, I love stories about people who grew up in the Midwest, I love accounts that touch on food and restaurants but this book was unsatisfying. Each chapter built up to a point and then slid away from any sense of completion.
Sloane Mayberry
Jul 15, 2013 Sloane Mayberry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hits hard on parenting our parents around end of life issues. Very good read. Was fun for book club as many of us are facing this currently. Also a funny book. Lots of food themes. Lots of religious themes. Enjoyed it!
Rachel
Aug 14, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
Just started reading this title. Julia Pandl will be joining Manitowoc Public Library readers at our book discussion Thursday, September 20. Join in the fun!
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
This is another book I'd give 3 and a half stars if I could.
Phyllis
I was expecting this to be more of a restaurant/food memoir than it was. It does start out that way as the author describes how she and her siblings help out in their father's restaurant where there are no favorites and the hard work builds character (as well as muscles and endurance). She begins working in the restaurant at the young age of 12 years old but then as she grows up the book becomes more about her relationship with her father. I'm not sorry I read it, but it wasn't a book that I urg ...more
Ellen
Mar 25, 2016 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you ever want to know what it is like to be in the restaurant business, this book is spot on! No matter what the "out-front" of the restaurant/cafe/inn looks like, the sections you don't see reflect nothing fancy, just hard work, hours of never ending prep before the rush and spiced with enough shenanigans to make it all fun, interesting and exhausting! What a way to grow up!

The minute the author described how she "slid a brand-new bib apron over my head, folded it a few times, and tied it ti
...more
Lisa A. Carlson
Feb 06, 2013 Lisa A. Carlson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Lisa A. by: on year end best list of books
Shelves: memoir
This memoir begs the question; what is the perfect childhood and set of parents? Obviously, none of us can really answer it because each of our experiences are what we know as normal. Julia Pandl sets the stage early by introducing us to her twelve year old mentality and routine; making pancakes at her Dad's restaurant. As you may imagine she detests it but it's a way of life for the Pandl family of 9 siblings. Her parents are like many of our parents; no playbook for parenting and doing the bes ...more
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Julie was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she still lives and works. The youngest of nine, Julie often dreamed of naptime, where there was no yelling, kicking, or screaming, where no one would pinch her, pull her hair, or hang her on the bathroom doorknob by her underpants.

As time went on, her ambitions grew into a desire to work at her father’s restaurant, where she could be close to her belo
...more
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