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The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery and Paris
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The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery and Paris

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  775 ratings  ·  127 reviews
A story about one woman's search for self-love, experienced through food and travel.

On the surface, Jackie Kai Ellis's life was the one that every woman--herself included--wanted: she was in her late twenties and married to a handsome man, she had a successful career as a designer, a home that she shared with her husband. But instead of feeling fulfilled, happy, and loved,
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Appetite by Random House
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  775 ratings  ·  127 reviews


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Kevin M
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
I know I am probably not the target audience for this book. While I haven't read Eat, Pray, Love, I imagine the readership would greatly overlap with this title, and indeed, it was summarized as such by the person who gave it to me. This is a story about a woman going through an unfulfilling marriage, and attempting to change careers while travelling abroad and finding passion in food. Each chapter has a recipe at the end of it (but I can't speak to their quality, didn't try making one of ...more
Melissa T
*I received a copy of this book via Goodreads Giveaways*

The title of the copy I received is slightly different, and very fittingly "The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris."

Throughout the memoir, the author seems absolutely miserable, most of the time. This is told through a series of vignettes that jump forward and backward in time. The jumps were not too unsettling, but I feel that as a whole it would be more powerful if this were in a more sequential order.

As a child,
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Christine
I enjoyed the first half of this memoir; the second is a bit loose in terms of structuce and progression. Still, the recipes look interesting.
Stephanie
2.5 stars

For the first 2 years of our marriage, my husband and I lived in an apartment just a few streets over from Beaucoup Bakery. I enjoyed many Saturday morning croissants there and was thrilled to hear the founder, Jackie Kai Ellis, had a memoir coming out.

I assumed her memoir would focus primarily on opening the bakery (arguably one of Vancouver’s most popular and successful) but I was wrong. In the preface, Ellis tells readers that her book is a collection of memories written as
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Rebecca
May 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Could be the saddest, heaviest, most depressing take on food and Paris possible. My estimate is 80% of the book is spent on detailing an insanely dull and oppressive marital relationship, 3% paris, 3% other travels, and 13% ruminations from a personal journal that would have been better left out. Oh, and 1% recipes no one reading the book will ever try, especially since she actually tries to convince people not to try the croissant recipe (her bakery's signature item) - my guess is the editor ...more
Liz Laurin
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this was gorgeous and heartbreaking and raw and real and everything in between. it reminds me of cooking memoirs I read when I was young; that were broken up and had recipes.

the entire book is stunning with the coloured.pages and photos and I just couldn't get enough.
Lindsey Reeder
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First of all, let me say that I know that this book doesn't come out for seven months, but I feel like it's my duty to come on Goodreads and rave about how much I loved The Measure of My Powers.

Vulnerability is a tricky thing and it's not easy to put some of your darkest thoughts on paper, but lucky for readers, that's what Jackie Kai Ellis has done. She writes of a time when she thought suicide was a better option than living and she shares the insecurities she has with her body. These dark
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Emmkay
I enjoy reading about both travel (and Paris!) and food, and was also interested to read the author's story of opening her own bakery. She grappled her way out of a difficult marriage and significant depression to achieve success and happiness, which is terrific. However, the episodic format of her story didn't grab me, and I found that her memoir veered between rather generic self-affirmations and overly specific TMI moments.
Wendy
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads Giveaways
Shelves: memoir
"The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris" which I won through Goodreads Giveaways is a moving memoir about a woman raised in an Asian family of academic achievers, with a successful career as a designer and dedicated to a charming but controlling husband who finds herself in the throws of depression; unhappy, unfulfilled, and consumed by feelings of inadequacy.

Struggling with her inner darkness and a failing marriage that’s childless and empty, she turns to her love of food
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Becky R.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
Ugh. Just too self-indulgent. I like a journey to find oneself, but this was misery. I didn't even feel like celebrating with her when she traveled to all of these amazing places and ate amazing food because everything was a struggle, a lack of gratitude, the total opposite of joy. Sorry, but this wasn't what I expected. If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, this is very much like that journey. In both cases, I wanted to see more of them understanding how privileged they are, but that reality just ...more
Vanessa Pillay
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received an ARC from the publisher- thank you- but this is an honest review.

I love food and I love reading about food. That was my favourite part of this book - the descriptions of food were incredibly evocative and left my mouth watering. I didn’t try any of the recipes, so I can’t vouch for them, but they certainly look amazing and there are a couple I would like to try.

Of course, it’s not just about the food, it’s about food as her lifeline in despair. I found her descriptions of
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Jay Chi
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I honestly wasn't super committed to reading this book and it ultimately did kind of fall flat. I am definitely not the target audience for this book; I think the comparison that readers who loved Eat, Pray, Love would like this is pretty appropriate. I found the portions where Jackie discusses her marriage extremely bleak and difficult to read because of how she portrayed its failure (and poorly written). Hearing how she felt alone on her honeymoon is something difficult to stomach. I enjoy ...more
Irene
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
If you've ever been to Beaucoup Bakery or followed its founder, Jackie Kai Ellis on Instagram, you may have come across The Measure of My Powers. Ellis was doing a book signing last year on Robson St. Canada has one national bookstore chain and it had then opened up a new retail store that's not so much a book store but a place to pick up photo frames, notebooks, candles and the occasional bestseller you could probably order online. I got the book signed by Ellis, as I was curious to learn more ...more
Lucy
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Don’t read this book when you’re hungry. The descriptions of food are so vivid that I could almost see and taste the croissants, eggplant, or apricots. This memoir is presented as a series of vignettes, generally progressing over time but not necessarily in chronological order. Early on, I wasn’t sure that I was interested in continuing to read this book. Jackie Kai Ellis was depressed and depressing, low on self esteem, and stuck in a poor marriage. She had been warned not to marry this man, ...more
Danielle
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved every moment of reading this book!

As someone who has struggled with depression, loneliness and a HUGE life/career change this book really hit home. I too used food to heal me and bring me back to life, I’m a private chef and nutritionist. Although I don’t see myself opening a bakery anytime soon, I related so much to her internal struggle of how happy she was during the process but also how much physically it took from her.

So happy she got pushed to put these words on to paper and I can’t
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R
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Ugh. Just too self-indulgent. I like a journey to find oneself, but this was misery. I didn't even feel like celebrating with her when she traveled to all of these amazing places and ate amazing food because everything was a struggle, a lack of gratitude, the total opposite of joy. Sorry, but this wasn't what I expected. If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, this is very much like that journey. In both cases, I wanted to see more of them understanding how privileged they are, but that reality just ...more
Marianne
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
FANTASTIC. I usually don't leave reviews because it's annoying af, but I had to for this book. It's the perfect pace. An easy read. I was looking for something lighter from all the heavy books I've been reading lately and this was perfect. It was more introspective rather than an analyzation or observation from the world around us. It required more self-reflection than studying information. It was great and really touched my heart. An inspiring memoir.
Sandra
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this memoir of Jackie Kai Ellis and the struggles she went through to find herself through the medium of food. I found the format a bit confusing as she picked bits and pieces of her life to share, but I did love the recipes included. Thanks to Goodreads for the giveaway.
Noelle Walsh
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This memoir was an enjoyable one. It was easy to read and the recipes included sound really good. I think the author does a good job of relating the journey she was going through in this book and anyone who likes memoirs might like this one.


*won as a GoodReads Giveaway*
Brandon Forsyth
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A beautifully designed, structured, and written book, that somehow never really became more than the sum of its parts for me. Jackie Kai Ellis is clearly a brave and remarkable woman, but I think a more chronological narrative might have served her better here.
Deborah
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that you must hold in your hands and read, it is beautiful! The colour pages, the pictures, the quotes, the recipes, I think all of that would get lost on a kindle. I read this book while driving home from Toronto (Yes, I was the passenger) it was a great escape from the boring drive. JKE is honest about her story and takes her readers through her journey.

Karlee
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This memoir was incredibly beautiful, vulnerable, and deeply moving. I want to read it again and again until every word is engrained in my memory.
Meg
May 18, 2019 added it
I like a food memoir but that was intense.
Kevin
Mar 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: canlit
OH BOY. Do I have some thoughts on The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery and Paris. This book is a RIOT.

First: the actual book. It is pretty, looking like it came out of a store that specializes in potpourri. Some pages are randomly coloured in varying hues of pastel. Staged photos and dramatic. pages. that. are. completely. black. separate each chapter of this food memoir. If you want to know what it would look like if the Easter Bunny puked, it would be this book. When I look at
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Ana Calabresi
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian, memoir, 2019
I went once to Beaucoup and their croissants are really amazing! It was nice to read the story behind the bakery.
Barbara
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As I started to read this book, I began to wonder what I was getting myself into after the first chapter. The second chapter and onwards became so riveting that I couldn't put the book down and devoured the story. Did I mention that the recipes included will leave you starving and wanting to pull out the baking pans and start baking?

This exceptionally well written story was so beautifully descriptive that you gained an excellent understanding of the turmoil the author was going through and how
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Vinci
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Indulgent, sumptuous, and vulnerable. This memoir was certainly a guilty pleasure.
Vicki
Apr 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
A worse Eat Pray Love with recipes. Should have been kept to herself!
Elaine
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I think I got this book recommendation from a Canadian Living magazine. The author suffered from depression and it seemed to affect every part of her life. On the outside she was successful, married, owned their own home but still struggled with happiness.

Each chapter is a filled with a memory of a part of her life and ends with a recipe.

After her marriage failed, she opened up her own bakery in Vancouver, something she dreamed of doing.

What I found sad was the relationship she had with her
...more
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