thewanderingjew's Reviews > Friendship Bread

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
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Jul 20, 2011

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Read in July, 2011

In the first few pages, the mood is set. The book appears to be one that will be pleasant to read. It is about love, friendship, relationships and all the myriad things that can happen to someone in their lives, both good and bad. The author speaks in a charming, simple tone and makes you feel right at home, just like the friendship bread which seems to be at the core of the story, the theme that ties it all together.

It is an easy book to read, perhaps more like a beach read. Although it seems like a very “light” book, written very simplistically, it imparts a message about friendship which is open to many interpretations. If we explore how each of us thinks we go about making friends or what each of us considers to be the meaning of friendship or commitment, we could probably have a very lively discussion!

Although it is not a book of great depth, and some of the characters are a bit weak and shallow, I would not dismiss it. It tackles so many subjects that have great depth: death of a child, death of a husband, divorce, estrangement in families, infidelity, pregnancy, ambition, self-respect and relationships in general etc. It is because of that, that I believe it would be a marvelous book to discuss in a group.

Julia has lost a child, Hannah, a former concert cellist, is going through a divorce, Madeline, the elderly owner of the town tea shop, is suffering from her own period of adjustment and loneliness after the death of her husband, Livvy is estranged from her sister and she and her husband are having deep financial difficulties. And then there is Edie (unmarried, living with the town doctor), the reporter who exposes the Friendship Bread to the world and with it hurt several people in the process. She struck an angry nerve within me. Consumed with self interest, she writes her story, and instead of emphasizing the goodness of the effort, she emphasizes the negatives in an attempt to gain fame for herself and play “gotcha” with someone’s life without thinking about the consequences of the act she has committed. She is a caricature of today’s journalist, willing to do anything to get the story, regardless of whether or not the facts are stretched or even real. Another character who tries to throw a monkey wrench into other people’s lives is Vivian. She is an over ambitious, unhappy woman who will stop at nothing to get ahead. She doesn’t respect the bonds of marriage, the protocols of her office or the boundaries imposed by its hierarchy and has an overblown idea of her own importance.

Oddly, I felt as if the men in the story were portrayed softer, weaker perhaps, at times, but more human too; as characters they seemed filled with positive energy and were definitely without the emotional excesses of many of the women cast in the novel. They seemed put upon by life, innocent in the whirlwind that engulfed them while the women seemed to be more the cause of their own problems because of their own weaknesses or insecurities.

There are several extraneous characters whose stories suddenly appear without any serious development. Some of the characters seem like caricatures of themselves, and often, the dialog is trite and the situations seem over used. That said: the redeeming feature of the book is its ability to empathize with, and also illustrate, the issues that confront all of us today, in one way or another. Also, it is a fairy tale and who doesn’t like a fairy tale with a happy ending?

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Comments (showing 1-6)

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Luanne I liked this book. And I like the bread.

thewanderingjew Luanne wrote: "I liked this book. And I like the bread."

wow, which one did you make? is it difficult to make the starter?

Luanne My friend made the starter and passed it around at work (she also read the book). Her grandkids helped her make the starter. I like the vanilla pudding one with cinnamon. I also tried chocolate pudding with cinnamon, but vanilla pudding was better. My friend also made the muffins, which were great.

thewanderingjew It sounds like something I should do with my grandkids too! Maybe at the end of summer when camp is over I will try it. It is a nice concept, isn't it?

Luanne The bread is what attracted me to this book. The bread does bring people together and it is sharing something made with your own hands. It is a great project to do with kids. Let the kids pick who to share the starters with. Plus cooking is always a fun project with kids.

thewanderingjew I love the idea because it is outreach and I think it would be a lovely thing to do with seniors who live alone, too. Someone could visit them and bake a starter with them. It would give them company and make them feel useful. There are so many lonely people.

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