Cathy's Reviews > Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat

Life, on the Line by Grant Achatz
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May 01, 11

bookshelves: memoir, first-reads
Read in April, 2011

I was so excited to win a preview copy of Grant Achatz's memoir because I'd heard about his award winning Chicago restaurant, Alinea, and his battle with tongue cancer and couldn't wait to learn more. I wasn't disappointed. From the play on words title to the descriptions of his childhood assisting in the family diner and especially the few lyrical details of his culinary creations, the book was a winner. Achatz doesn't dwell on his cancer battle but gives enough detail to underscore the horror he faced when confronted with the possibility of losing his tongue. Fortunately he was able to find a solution more acceptable for a renowned chef, but the painful treatment he faced makes me thankful I have have a healthy tongue!

The only slight weakness in the book, is the portion written by Achatz's partner, Nick Kokonas, who doesn't manage to pull off the self-deprecation that Achatz handles effortlessly. One additional, albeit minor, quibble is that the editors chose to leave out one of the spaces at the end of each sentence in Kokonas' section, making it more difficult to read.

Assuming that Achatz didn't have the help of a professional to pen his memoir, he proved he is a remarkable author as well as a remarkable chef.
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