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Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,946 ratings  ·  379 reviews
Already hailed as "brave, emotional, and gorgeously written" by Frances Mayes and "like a piece of dark chocolate--bittersweet, satisfying, and finished all too soon" by Laura Fraser, author of An Italian Affair, this is a unique memoir about the search for identity through love, hunger, and food.

Jim Harrison says, "TRAIL OF CRUMBS reminds me of what heavily costumed and c
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2008)
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3.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,946 ratings  ·  379 reviews

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Feb 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
I am sorry to write this review, but this has to be listed as one of the WORST books I've ever read. I was so disappointed in it after I had heard Kim Sunee on NPR and then found the book recommended in my Bookmarks recommendations.

Ms. Sunne, while having a horrible start in life (left on a bench in Korea with crumbs in her hand), managed to have fantastical relationships with men in Sweden, France and the U.S. She does nothing to elaborate on her beginnings except to whine about her adoptive f
Corinne Edwards
On a park bench in a Korean marketplace, three year old Kim Sunee was told by her mother to "wait right here." Kim did, and her mother never came back. After being adopted by an American family from New Orleans, she learns to love to cook and eventually makes her way to and around Europe, trying her hand at writing and attempting to figure out where her place is in a world that abandoned her at such a young age.

Ack, this book was a disappointment. Kim felt like an emotionally unstable and unreli
Nov 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
While there's no doubt Kim Sunee is a good writer, I can't give this book more than two stars. I'd give it a 1.5 if I could; two might be generous. Call me a hater, but it's hard to feel much empathy for Sunee as she whines about her life while wearing a designer bikini lying next to the pool at her sugar daddy's mansion in Provence, France. I kept waiting/hoping Sunee would show some emotional maturity towards the end of the memoir, but she ended with her leaving France w/o much growth. Sure, s ...more
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was a memoir but read more like a novel. Kim Sunee has had an amazing journey for a woman less than 40. She was found by the Korean police after her mother took her to a crowded marketplace and left her on a bench with only a fistful of food. The police found her three days and nights later, still clutching what was then a handful of crumbs. She was then adoped by a family in New Orleans. Her memoir explores her search for home and love as she moves from New Orleans and then to Paris, ...more
Lisa Ahronian
Jun 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
I did not like this book. If you don't want to read my spoiler alerts, then just close it out here and move on.

Written as a memoir, the main character is a girl named Kim Sunee, who is abandoned by her mother in Korea and found 3 days later by a policeman. She is then adopted by an American couple and is raised in New Orleans. She then spends the next 25 years running away from anything meaningful in her life and feeling sorry for herself. And there is where my dislike for her stems from. While
Mar 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Although I would certainly agree that this book is "gorgeously written," - Ms. Sunee has a true gift with language and descriptions - as a whole I can't rate it that highly. I generally can empathize or at least sympathize with most people. And to a certain extent I am able to do so with Ms. Sunee - she overcame some very difficult circumstances in her life that could only have been incredibly distressing and heartbreaking. But it is only to a certain extent, and this review is only three stars, ...more
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
I heard the author interviewed on Leonard Lopate's NPR show and was intrigued. I truly wanted to love this book...but found myself struggling to read beyond the first-half. Having been abandoned at the age of three and grappling with identity issues after being adopted and raised in New Orleans, the author tells a tale of searching for herself though love, food, friendship, and travel. In the end it felt like a premature work - under 40 herself and seemingly still very confused and lost on many ...more
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Melody by: Sara Jones
Shelves: local-connection
Oh I just hate to write this review. I have so many friends who know and work with this writer and were so excited about the book, and my sister is waiting for me to send the book to her, and I'm having the friends who gave me the book to dinner next week. But Trail of Crumbs was just so bland. I mean the recipes sound scrumptious - but the story just made me shake my head. Well for one thing, I just wanted to slap her. She was so sure that everyone in Korea and China thought she was a whore and ...more
Mar 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: bio-memoir, food
There are so many memoirs of indeterminate purpose these days, particularly with recipes. As with many others in the genre, I never really figured out the raison d'etre of this one, but it stands out as much more lushly written than the rest. Intricate meals, global travel, beautiful French clothing, sumptuous bath products (Sunee was involved with the founder of L'Occitane for several years) - all very atmospheric. Even the recipes sound more decadent than your average foodie-turned-memoirist's ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I was unsure how I would like this memoir, because I had already aligned it with Gilbert's food memoir, Eat, Pray, Love and had been incredibly turned off by it.

Kim is a lovely writer, and I appreciated her talent for pairing certain foods to certain moods. Much like her mouth-watering descriptions in easy-to-read recipes, I found her story deeply interesting, but ultimately, I wish she would have used her personal experience to write something fictionalized.

My complaint with the over-saturat
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Sadness and loss is the underlying feeling of Trail Crumbs. At first it's difficult not to envy the young woman swimming laps in the pool overlooking the orchard of her French millionaire boyfriend's vast compound in the High Alps of Provence, but below the surface of this portrait is a turbulent quest for the writer's identity. Abandoned at age three in a Korean marketplace, Sunee is adopted by an American couple who raise her in New Orleans. In the 1990s she settles, after a fashion, in France ...more
Astrid Natasastra
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2009 marked it as did-not-finish
I felt committed to read this for an upcoming book club so I gave it 150 pages before I had to call it quits. Otherwise, I would've been done in under 50 pages. It was like reading a travelog of the author's jaunts throughout Europe. Mouth-watering food, fantastic boyfriends, and alot of characters that never came to life for me. I am sympathetic to the author of her longing to find a place of belonging, but this memoir seemed incredibly self-indulgent.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. It took me a bit to get into it, but then I just loved the language, the honesty of it. The author writes about love and hunger, and belonging and finding yourself...and it amazes me that she is still so very young. She has done more and seen more of this planet in twenty-some-odd years than many people do in a lifetime. It makes me pine for Provence, for fresh figs and shelled walnuts.
Kim Miller-Davis
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeously-written memoir containing lush, ethereal language. Sunee's descriptions of traveling, food, and love are so sensually evocative that her narrative takes on a poem-like quality. Even at her saddest, most heart-breaking moments, she immerses readers into the beauty of fully experiencing life.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think she has promise as a writer (she might be a good cook but I didn't try any of the recipes).
It will be more interesting to read her when she has grown up a bit - after all, it is quite boring
to read a Cinderella tale when Cinderella is only in her twenties. I couldn't finish it - it just
didn't hold me.
Karen Kramer
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book about an abandoned orphan from Korea who gets adopted by an American couple and spends her life trying to find herself, who she is, seeking love and happiness, all the time trying to define what happiness is, what would make her feel fufilled. Kim, the hero, spends a lotf of time cooking and in the book there are many recipes which sound absolutly delicious!
Feb 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
I REALLY didn't like this book. I expected so much more but it was a big whiny mess. As an adopted child, I found the author's disdain for her adoptive parents offensive. The whole book was one person's use of the fact of her early life and adoption as a justification for every bad thing and poor decision in her life.
Jan 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
This book has the excruciating tone of an adolescent girl endlessly debating whether or not to break up with the football hero. It takes self-absorbed to new level. It must have been quite a challenge to write a 400 page memoir and never acknowledge anyone else's feelings.
Feb 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book without knowing anything about it, and at first I thought it was great: poetic and evocative renderings of food and landscape, transporting me to New Orleans, Korea, Stockholm, Provence. There were even some great looking recipes. Then the memoir part of it really kicked in. Abandoned by her Korean parents, the author was adopted by a couple from New Orleans and had a pretty terrible relationship with them. So in college she started traveling to get away from them and "find ...more
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
As of page 248 - I am still feeling despair. This book is chock full of hurt, pain, sadness, despair, hopelessness. As far as enabling the reader to experience what the author is feeling, Ms. Sunee is an extremely good writer.

Thoughts after having finished the book - 2.5 stars.

The writing is fantastic. It was full of emotion and I cried for the author.

As a memoir, though... I read memories, autobiographies, and biographies to learn something about either the world or about an individual. This
At times delicious, at times a little stale, Trail of Crumbs was an enjoyably frustrating read. Kim Sunee's writing flows and is filled with vivid descriptions of the sights, smells, and tastes of the bevy of cultures she visits. Her love of poetry comes through on every page. The story itself is mediocre, a little sluggish and towards the end becomes a bit of a soap opera. Occasionally Sunee comes across as rather detached from the story and I can understand how this could annoy some readers. H ...more
May 29, 2014 rated it liked it
My interest in this book was triggered by her appearance/book signing/luncheon accompanied by Frances Mayes, who, the article said, has become a close friend of Kim Sunee. I love memoirs, I love everything by Frances Mayes, I love travel books, I love cook books--this one had it all.
Well, it sort of did. Kim writes so well, reading her is a pleasure. Getting a glimpse of life lived with extreme wealth was fun, too. But I grew not to like Kim, as a person. Her selfishness was hard to comprehend.
3 stars because of the recipes.
I can relate to the restless drifting and searching of the adopted abandoned, but Sunée's near-constant battle between her ego and her insecurity is exhausting. It's almost as if despite all the talk of wanting to belong, wanting a real existence she can claim, hold onto, she willfully rejects what little of her identity she knows. Down to her surname, even, now a Franco-fied version of her Korean name. Worse, she's not her only victim, despite writing it that way.
Sep 13, 2008 rated it did not like it
gah. i got this one because i saw my favorite buzz-words--food! travel! love! but was ultimately disappointed to find a book full of someone's angsty search for meaning and a place to feel at home. the narrator did a bang-up job of reading in lots of different languages (with what sounded to me like relatively accurate accents and pronunciation), but her regular ol' english narration was so... precise... that it kind of bugged me. or at least it didn't draw me any closer to the main character. i ...more
Jul 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
Was better than "the sharper your knife", since they're both in the same genre of cooking memoir. you get more of a story with this one and a better look into the author's psyche for sure. although i kind of wanted her to stop whining about her sense of lack of place...she did have pretty much everything a girl could ask for, a man who truly loved her, great cooking talent, and the financial means to travel the world (well via her pimp daddy, which honestly, is not such a bad thing, if you can g ...more
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is a book that I thought I would love. It has a lot in common with other books that I really enjoy - a sort of journey/memoir story similar to Eat Pray Love, but without all the hype.

Sadly, I didn't like this one at all. I don't like to give up on a book midway through, but I almost had to force myself to finish this one. Kim Sunee is not a person that I can relate to at all - the book seems muddled, and the writing pretentious. I'm not sure what the purpose of the recipes at the end of the
Mar 20, 2008 rated it liked it
I picked up the galley at BEA 2007 and then totally forgot about it until I read a review of it in The NY Times. My eyes perked up at reading about the author's affair with a French dude--the creator of L'Occitane, whose products I certainly cannot afford--so I dove in. Sunee's story is sprinkled with high-brow recipes, which sound delicious, but which I'm not anxious to try at the moment. The salacious details about her affair, and various others, kept the momentum going, but I found it difficu ...more
Mar 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
Book club read for April - a memoir about a Korean girl abandoned at a marketa the age of three. She was raised in New Orleans by her adoptive parents - it is her coming-of-age story.
Not so sure I like the interuptions of recipes throughout the book - would prefer all of that at the end.

The most boring memoir I have ever read! She could have ended it 200 pages ago...not very interesting reading about a girl who can't appreciate all that she has been given in life...maybe that's the coming of age
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Kim Sune is the author of Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home. (Grand Central Publishing, January 2008)
She lived in Europe for more than ten years and is now food editor at Cottage Living magazine. "
“It's so easy to be accused. So much easier than explaining things we don't know how to articulate.” 0 likes
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