Katie's Reviews > Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
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's review
Jan 17, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: foodie, memoir, new-york
Read in January, 2012

Seventy percent of this book was absolutely wonderful. Unexpectedly gorgeous writing paired with delectable food tales had me captivated from page, well, probably page 40 or so, after all the stereotypical, melodramatic-memoir, "Let me tell you about my fucked-up childhood and experiences with drugs" generic-ness had passed us by.

You'll also have to forgive the absolutely baffling relationship Hamilton has with her, ahem, "husband," whom she married for INS reasons, never lived with, HAD TWO CHILDREN WITH and then, we are to assume - I think - divorced. A good 50 or 60 pages at the end of book are spent describing the marriage as it approaches the end of its life, yet I'm not sure why anyone would possibly care by that point.

One more thing. There's also an unexplained 20-year feud with her mother, which the reader learns when Hamilton says something like, "I thought about contacting my mom for the first time in 10 years." Um, I beg your pardon? Where did that come from? This glaring omission of what tore Mother and Daughter apart caused 40 pages of "tension" to just be confusing and anti-climactic. I would have either left family life out entirely or explained it in more detail throughout the book.

Now that I've set this up as a book that you're surely just dying to get your hands on, allow me to reiterate that it was still a very, very good book. There was enough insider-talk to allow me to live vicariously in the underbelly of NYC's kitchens, and there was enough about life, love and family to bring insight and introspection to the premise. This is good-quality writing, not just good-quality food writing, but the hungry reader will relish this one.

Now if only I could get into her damn restaurant for brunch...I hate no-reservations policies.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Alexandra I want to talk about this in next book club! I agree the writing was excellent and often interesting, but I kind of LOATHED her. Why did she hate her own mother and love her mother-in-law?!? I do not know because absolutely no justification was given for either sentiment. She seemed to blame her mother for the divorce (or maybe she blames her for being French? Unclear.) even though her father bankrupted and abandoned them... I also found it very hard to believe that she loves her sister as much as claimed, given we all know now that she slept with HER HUSBAND. Eerrrrggg! Who does that??

Rebecca If she had only talked about food I would have been so happy. She often went from talking about a to c without any regard for logical or chronological storytelling. Disappointed.

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