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A Place at the Table

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  4,876 ratings  ·  675 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
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,876 ratings  ·  675 reviews

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Mar 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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 D 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
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Karin Slaughter
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Cassandra King
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm between a 3 and 4 here. I liked the story of these 3 characters, but holy cow there was a lot jammed in. I felt it was mostly about Bobby, a southern gay man, but I wanted more about Alice. Alice wrote a famous cookbook and was mysterious to me. Amelia's part was equally as interesting as the other two. I liked how they found solace in each other and the most unlikely, but fitting place. I think forging friendships is the best therapy. ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Mar 13, 2014 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 rated it it was amazing
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
May 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Karen Rush
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Three very different characters with their own very different secrets. They somehow find each other in New York City, no less. And there's food. Lots of descriptive, mouth watering food. The book begins with a horrifying incident that was hard to forget and I kept waiting for it to resurface. Actually, I did a lot of waiting but in an anticipatory way. I was eager to know how the characters would connect as clues hinted along the way. The story satisfied but utter satisfaction would be some of B ...more
True rating would be 3.5 stars
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Timothy Juhl
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I started and stopped this book several times before finally committing to it earlier in March. It's slow to get going, nothing before the first 50 or so pages grabbed me as a reader. The main character*, Bobby, moves to NYC in the early 80s. He's gay and it's NYC in the 80s and I was completely hooked by his experience, including landing a kitchen job in a famed, but hidden, cafe. Here was the book I was promised when I heard a small review on NPR.

There were recipes and descriptions of southern
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I am somewhere between a 3 and a 4 on this one. A beautifully written story about 3 very different people during different decades. While I usually prefer a book with alternating storylines and POV's, this was written in large chunks about one character and then abruptly stopping and switching gears to another character. The prologue was about Alice and her brother James in NC in 1929. I won't give anything away but talk about foreshadowing! You already know the 3 storylines are going to come to ...more
Erin Rae L'Hommedieu
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have
I loved everything about this book. Allow me to expand on this review.

1) The writing is SO good, I literally had to put this book down in my lap every 20 minutes or so just to revel in how good the literature was. I more than just read this book, I felt it with every fiber of my being. I fell in love with the characters (well, at least Bobby and Alice).

2) I read another review of this that asked the question: what is the point? what is the author trying to get at? The name says it all. This is
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I rarely read a book I can't predict. This book was an amazing exception. I did not like character 1 introduced in the prologue. Character 2 was ok. I liked him more and more as he grew. Character 2 was developed so much I kept wondering what about character 1. & there is supposed to be a 3rd. Where is the 3rd? Only then did I realize I had focused on the wrong character 1. 2 characters were in the story. The 3rd was there too. One I thought was insignificant until she was the one who tied every ...more
Sharon A.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: current-fiction
I really enjoyed this beautifully written story of three main characters and how they found themselves (and each other) in New York. The story seemed to end abruptly for each, then pick up much later, but I truly enjoyed it.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I almost gave up on this book but I’m so glad I kept reading. I was rewarded with complex characters and a moving story. So well written and I really enjoyed it!
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
A story about complex characters who have a common interest in food but seemingly not much else. Except, of course, there's so much more.
When the thermostat hits triple digits and staying inside is a necessity, it's nice to have a book like this on the nightstand.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Touching on such a delicate subject like homosexuality. Surviving the odds and focusing on one's dream but reality is sometimes not you dreamed of. ...more
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Highly Recommend 1 17 Mar 09, 2014 05:02PM  

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Susan Rebecca White is the author of four novels: Bound South, A Soft Place to Land, A Place at the Table, and the forthcoming We Are All Good People Here, which will be published by Atria / Simon & Schuster on August 6, 2019. A graduate of Brown University and the MFA program at Hollins University, Susan has taught creative writing at Hollins, Emory, SCAD, and Mercer University, where she was the ...more

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