Laura's Reviews > Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Times

Cherries in Winter by Suzan Colon
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's review
Oct 16, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: memoir
Read from October 04 to 16, 2011

This books reads like a series of magazine articles 600 to 1000 words. Each chapter has the same characters, but together they don't provide a story arc. Some of the articles work better than others. And some didn't hold my interest. I found it difficult to remember the characters. I was more than two-thirds into the book before I realized Matilda was Nana. And Matilde was the great-great grandma. (I think.)

The book focuses on three main topics - family, food and tough economic times. Woven in these three topics is short commentary on women in the work force and women's fashion and beauty tips. Most of these topics are fine for the magazine format. The history of women's magazines are about looking good (for work, for yourself and for your significant other), generic tips on getting by in the workforce and cooking up meals. The articles (or chapters) that worked best for me were about her grandfather. But the topic of navigating tough economic times didn't work for me. The book talks a lot about choices. Why are very expensive raisins all the more tempting when we can least afford them? Suzan Colon's belief is that by indulging in these delicacies she is broke, but not poor. She sees the ability to make room for the occasional splurge as a way to keep spirits up.

Ultimately, I didn't connect to this part of the book. There was something jarring about this light format trying to tackle how people face the challenges of a true economic downturn. And in this case, it never felt all that challenging. For me getting by in tough times - is connecting to people who support me. Again this quick and easy format made it difficult to understand how her network sustained her besides a few sentences here and there. I could barely keep track of the characters much less figure out what they offered. I think that's why her stories about her grandfather worked the best. He stood out as a single character, who was willing to drop everything to catch blue fish or send for her in cabby that was willing to drive on the sidewalk.
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