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A Place at the Table: A Novel

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  3,867 Ratings  ·  569 Reviews
A rich, beautiful novel about three unlikely, complex characters who meet in a chic Manhattan café and realize they must sacrifice everything they ever knew or cared about to find authenticity, fulfillment, and love.

A Place at the Table tells the story of three richly nuanced characters whose paths converge in a chic Manhattan café: Bobby, a gay Southern boy who has been o
ebook, 336 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Touchstone (first published January 1st 2013)
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At the end of the day I'm not entirely sure what Ms. White was trying to say with the eloquently written but hollow "A Place at the Table."

The novel follows the meandering and eventually intersecting lives of three very different characters; Alice an African American woman who journey's through a difficult childhood in 1920's North Carolina to find herself a rising culinary star amongst the intellectual elite of New York City, Bobby a young gay man who also arrives from the south entering the va
Judy Collins
A Place at the Table was much more than 5 stars – if I could give 10, I would! The story was brilliantly written! If you are from the south you will definitely appreciate.

As a native of NC Bible belt, leaving a small town and narrow minded ways, relocating to Atlanta years ago, can relate. I loved the mentions of the different parts of Atlanta which are familiar– and oh my Bobby was my favorite character!

The narrator of Bobby via audio, was superb- I had to continue going back and listening to
Cassandra King
Jun 23, 2013 Cassandra King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
an excellent book that i savored like a fine wine. it was different than i expected, darker and more 'literary', for lack of a better word--more charlotte bronte than jane austen. the cover and a review i'd read led me to expect light summer fare, so if that's what you're looking for, you might want to make another selection. i'm now eager to read white's other books.
Jun 06, 2013 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hauntingly beautiful story. This is my first novel by Susan Rebecca White and I was blown away by the story and language. It is a must read.
Jul 22, 2013 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Place At The Table
Susan Rebecca White

My"in a nutshell" summary...

Alice, Bobby, and New their lives...but it's their past histories that are so riveting.

My thoughts after reading this book...

Lovely lovely lovely book...the words of this author are so lovely.

Can you tell that I loved this book? The thing about reading so much is that I always think that I love all of the books that I read and I do...but then every once in a while I read a
Feb 20, 2015 Leanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was destined for 4 stars (few books get that from me) and a place on my "Keeper" bookshelves until the final 25% of the book, when the author introduced a new character; a foolish, self absorbed, clueless dolt of a woman who was suddenly introduced to tie all the previous characters together.

Bleah. The previous clear writing was obscured by tortured connections and this idiot character.

I gave it 3 stars for the first 3/4 of the book. When you get to the section with Amelia, close the
This book ends up feeling like three very separate stories that all have an intersection but are not necessarily intertwined. I enjoyed reading it and I went through it quickly because I found it engaging, but in the end I don't know who I would recommend it to. The subjects are pretty heavy (AIDS, adultery, racism, etc.) so it may not be for everyone, but it never felt gratuitous so there aren't any major red flags for me.
Mar 21, 2017 Craftnut rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written novel about three different people with very different backgrounds, escaping their troubled lives in the South to New York City. The common element is cooking, and they find each other through a restaurant and a cookbook. Each has their own story, of past issues with who they are and who they become within the book, all coming together at the end. This novel is so well written, with rich imagery and detail in the lives of the characters. Well developed storyline in a conver ...more
Mar 13, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I was a goodreads first reads winner of "A Place at the Table: A Novel. I consider myself lucky to get a chance to read this well written book. It starts in 1929 in North Carolina. Alice and James are brother and sister facing racial prejudices. the witness something horrible. Years later we see the story through Bobby's eyes a young boy growing up in 1970s Georgia, Bobby is homosexual,when his family finds out he is ostracized by all of them but his grandmother. He moves to Manhattan when he hi ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unforgettable. I love this book. A story written in the beautiful style of "To Kill A Mockingbird", my all time favorite book. It's not only a story of understanding and loving people for their differences, but of family...even the kind you assemble yourself.

I especially loved the Southern characters; Bobby, I will love you forever and Alice, you are so strong. The emotions of Bobby really tugged at my heartstrings, for those of us who have always felt different (doesn't matter why)and those wh
Sep 02, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book combines two of my favorite places, the south(born and raised) and New York city(frequent visitor). I loved recognizing physical landmarks of NYC without it being overdone and I loved recognizing personality characteristics of the south, without it being overdone! How White merges the two places is magical. The relationships are real relationships by real broken people who live life together. Bobby and Meemaw's relationship is so sweet and the letters he writes to her from New York bri ...more
May 13, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a welcome departure from other books I've recently read: it made me feel something.

The lives of three narrators eventually, rather unexpectedly, intertwine and connect. It requires a significant suspension of disbelief to accept this, but it is critical that we do so if we want to allow this book to work its magic. For those of us who love to cook, love to talk about food, and understand the therapeutic powers of sifting, mixing, baking and serving, this book will be particularly m
Jul 11, 2013 Kirk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. A beautiful story uniting disparate worlds; a story of how we all fit together even though we may not precisely fit into the worlds into which we are born or even the worlds we choose of our own accord. it is rather amazing that one author can so expertly and genuinely flesh out the wildly different backgrounds of the three principal characters. I recognize those worlds. I grew up in one of them, down the street from another and had my share of experience bumping up against the third. I und ...more
White has really come into her own with her newest novel (and this is coming from someone who really enjoyed her previous books). The storyline is sophisticated and smart, and I loved getting to know these sensitive, creative characters as they encountered both unexpected and predictable challenges in their lives. My feeling is that the ending came on a little too abruptly; you could argue that I felt that way because I wasn't ready for it to end, and maybe you'd be right.
A solid four stars. Hig
Apr 15, 2017 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True rating would be 3.5 stars
Karin Slaughter
Mar 23, 2014 Karin Slaughter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Susan is a terrific writer, and I love how she portrays the south. Her scenes are pitch perfect and could've been pulled from my own family while I was growing up. The great thing about this book is it's not her first, so when you finish, you'll have several more to read.

I remember when we did this photoshoot for Vanity Fair a few years ago. They were profiling Atlanta authors, so it was me, Susan, Emily Giffin, Kitty Stockett, and some other fantastic authors and we got there all excited and th
Jun 23, 2013 Charlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Place at the Table is the story of three wonderfully complex characters, and how their stories converge in a historic New York City cafe. Alice, Bobby and Amelia are products of their very different and difficult early days, spending their whole lives searching for peace and personal authenticity. Amid the settings of the deep South and New York, and the comfort of good food and home cooking, I fell in love with all three characters. I rejoiced with them and cried with them, and was so touched ...more
Jul 24, 2013 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was so delightfully surprised with this book. I'm sure the title caught my attention. But I was blown away by the story about three people who escape their existences in North Carolina (black woman), Georgia (young homosexual man) and Connecticut (middle-aged suburban housewife) to find richness in their lives in NYC. There is an underlying theme of food including a restaurant, family recipes and cooking techniques. I can't imagine anyone not embracing this novel!
Apr 12, 2013 Rhonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
A beautifully written story of 3 characters ( Bobby, Alice and Amelia) trying to find where they belong. I loved Bobby's story-- how he became a chef due to the influence of his Meemaw and transformed the menu at Café Andres.
The author tackles some difficult subjects: homosexuality, the AIDS epidemic, race issues and adultery. Yet, the story is shared through recipes, food and a need to belong after family difficulties.
Sep 23, 2016 Brandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reading-in-2016
This was an ok read. The story and characters were both easy to imagine and the story very believable. I love the fact that at the end of the book, everything came to a full circle and every character was in someway related or introduced to one another. This was the first selection for Cover Girls Book Club
Jul 28, 2013 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this and loved it - the story of how a young gay man shunned from his family in Atlanta, a black woman who suffers from racial prejudice, and a Connecticut housewife whose husband leaves her all end up becoming the unlikeliest of families. It's a great story, I read it in 2 days. You won't want to put it down.
Mary Lange
White's writing is beautiful and poetic, but I just couldn't get into this story the way I wanted to. I see what she was trying to do with merging the three storylines, but the brief skimming over their lives made me feel like I didn't really get to KNOW any one character save for Bobby, and even then– when I really felt like I was getting into his story, it ended. I still enjoyed this one and would peg it a perfect book for a sunny day with lots of time to laze around and read!
Victoria Waddle
Jun 01, 2015 Victoria Waddle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This tale of disparate people coming together to grant one another a bit of peace, the opportunity to find their places at the table, begins with brother and sister James and Alice Stone, who in their adventures in the woods, stumble upon a man’s body. He is African American, and he has been lynched. The children, who are also African American, have good reason to be frightened. This is 1920’s North Carolina. Although they live in Emancipation Township, an African American-owned town, just outsi ...more
Mar 07, 2014 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White is a beautifully written novel about people finding a place for themselves through good food and good friends. It isn’t always your family that makes a place for you; sometimes it is those friends who are more of a family to you than your own. I listened to the audio book of A Place at the Table which is narrated by Robin Miles, George Newbern, and Katherine Powell and they do a fantastic job. I really enjoy books narrated by more than one narrator and ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Place at the Table is not my usual reading choice. I was drawn to it because of the food angle - I love to cook and while not a story that takes place in kitchens, food, cooking and cookbooks all play central roles that help to bring the main characters together. There are three - Bobby, Alice and Amelia. I do feel though that it the story belongs mostly to Bobby.

The book opens in North Carolina and we meet a very young Alice. She is living in a free black community with her grandfather and br
The twist of plot at the end of this novel saved this book for me. I didn't see the plot twist coming, and while it wasn't amazing, it was somewhat redeeming - touché. The book got off on a rocky start because I couldn't understand where one of characters, James, disappeared. The book's opening chapter is about Alice and James Stone, siblings, growing up in rural North Carolina who witness a lynching. James is sent to NYC to live with relatives to escape being identified by any of the white men ...more
Paul Pessolano
“A Place at the Table” by Susan Rebecca White, published by Touchstone Books.

Category – Fiction/Literature Publication Date – June 2013

Let me start off with saying that I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books by this author, “Bound South” and “A Soft Place to Land”. However, I must admit that I had trouble with “A Place at the Table”.

Susan Rebecca White has no trouble coming to terms with the hot issues of the day. She tackles homosexuality, lesbianism, race relations, and AIDS with knowledge
Dec 26, 2013 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently posted my 3 favorite books of 2013 never thinking I would finish a book before the new year or that it would be up there with the top 3 but that is exactly what happened with A Place At at the Table by Susan Rebecca White. I finished it before the new year because I could not put it down. I became totally engrossed in the lives of Bobby and Alice and later, Amelia.

Three people, Bobby, Alice and Amelia with very different backgrounds come together in this unforgettable story of humani
Jai Francy
Aug 24, 2013 Jai Francy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You will not be disappointed.

This wonderfully written book is about the search for that place at a table where you feel most welcomed. It's a beautifully detailed account of the lives of a group of people that have ties to the south and New York City. It brings them together. I don't have ties to either, but felt right at home in this book. I ached to get back to them between readings and the time spent listening about their plights sped by. Talking about food is healing and always a common grou
Michele Dambach
May 25, 2015 Michele Dambach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read "A Soft Place to Land" by this author, I knew that I would like her writing style and that the South would be woven intricately through the book, and I wasn't disappointed. From cover to cover I loved this book. Not only did it take place during times of cultural and political change, it interwove personal struggles like the threads in a quilt. And, there was also food involved, great details of Southern classic dishes from the 70's and 80's when I grew up. I can still see our kitche ...more
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Highly Recommend 1 16 Mar 09, 2014 05:02PM  
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Susan Rebecca White is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Bound South and A Soft Place to Land. Her third novel, A Place at the Table, will be published by Touchstone / Simon & Schuster in June of 2013. A graduate of Brown University and the MFA program at Hollins, Susan currently teaches creative writing at Emory University. She lives in her hometown of Atlanta, GA with her husband ...more
More about Susan Rebecca White...

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“...a profound opportunity to embrace impermanence. How those of us who are renters are perhaps in a better position to recognize that our time here on earth is a borrowed gift. That it's not ours to own, though it is ours to relish. That it's still worth beautifying, even though it's temporary. So paint the walls, plant tomatoes in pots on the fire escape, but don't cling. Because eventually we will all be asked to move on.” 3 likes
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