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Fair Shares for All: A Memoir of Family and Food
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Fair Shares for All: A Memoir of Family and Food

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2.82  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  18 reviews
In this beautifully written, vividly rendered memoir, John Haney, Gourmet magazine’s copy chief, describes his family’s day-to-day struggles, from the twilight of Queen Victoria’s reign to the dawn of the third millennium, in London’s least affluent working-class enclaves and suburbs, including a place called the Isle of Dogs–and reflects on how his family’s affection for ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2008)
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Average rating 2.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  61 ratings  ·  18 reviews


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Mary Louise
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Rich, funny, mouthwatering. As if you swollowed the Thesauras and washed it down with gingerale. Buy it!

I am glad to see a well-crafted memoir such as this appear on the market. 'Fare Shares for All' is a brutally honest, witty, and delicious memoir. Expertly crafted, I love how this author places two important subjects, food and war, side by side: 'Blank-faced pickled onions were drowning in vinegar. Skewered at the midriff, sqadrons of cocktail sausages were lined up like fatalities on stretch
...more
Sara Pauff
Here's what I gathered from this book: Growing up, John Haney ate a lot of food and also probably swallowed a thesaurus and too much James Joyce. Original, visceral descriptions -- particularly of food and people -- are always welcome and Haney does a good job of that, especially with the food. Run-on sentences that frequently come to more than 50 words and make heavy use of commas and parentheses are not. There were some sections, particularly toward the middle, where I thought if he varied his ...more
Catherine
I only made it halfway through this book. Perhaps some of the storyline was lost on me since I’m not familiar with many of the British locations and foods.

I couldn’t get past the clumsy writing style with an overabundance of double negatives. I kept wondering, Is this really his voice or is he struggling too hard to be a “writer”? He was too annoying. I couldn't finish the book.
...more
Beth
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Food is hardly the focus of this memoir. Family, friends and reminiscing the "feel" of his childhood played a more important role. Maybe he felt motivated to sell it as a book about food because he was working at the now defunct Gourmet Magazine but this book was a case of bait and switch.

I stuck with it because... uhhhh ...I really don't know why. There were a couple of good small parts that made me want to see if there were any others like that. For some reason he had to show off his vocabular
...more
Gabrielle Flores Cawrse
I love the writing and will likely buy the book for myself or ask for it for Christmas- got the book from my local branch library here in Austin, TX and might have a late fee on it but worth it.
Ellen
I had been searching at the library for British Literature and saw this book in the results of the search. It sounded interesting to me, as I'm interested in cooking and recipes and such. Although there are no recipes in this book, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was to read.

John Haney is a food writer, and was born in Great Britain. He grew up in the East End among a family of fairly eccentric people; but then again, aren't most families eccentric behind closed doors? The memoir t
...more
John
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It says something about a book when what you liked most of all about it was a sentence on the first page. This reads in its entirety: "At this news, I excitedly emitted, through a mouth stuffed with soldiers—toast slashed into fingers for dipping in soft-boiled eggs—a butter-blotted gasp of interest and approval." Despite the title, this was for me one of two or three references to food that I can still recall. The other was a brief bit about bacon sandwiches; the other was the description of jo ...more
Professor
John Haney's Fair Shares for All is mostly a memoir of John Haney, with food playing a secondary role, especially after Haney moves to the United States and the book shifts away from his childhood and England. the book is as much about Haney's struggle with his place in the world-working in publishing in America, classically educated, but from very much working class roots. As a guy who himself comes from very working class roots on his father's side, the book was interesting, and there are time ...more
Maya
Apr 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-2008
I wish I had enjoyed this book more; it seemed like the kind of thing that would be precisely up my alley. Despite the fact that I consider myself something of an Anglophile, there were a few too many cultural references that I had trouble following, which made it a little more difficult to connect with the author, despite the fact that I found his narrative style engaging and amusing.
Jennifer
Mar 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
An exceptionally good food memoir. The author, who ultimately became copy chief of the toney food magazine "Gourmet," looks back with great affection for the bacon sandwiches and seemingly endless sausages of his youth, along with his fascination with his cockney relatives, whom his mother derperately sought to rise above. ...more
Jennifer
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Usually I love English food/culture writers, so it was a surprise to not enjoy a book of this ilk. The author's RAMBLING on nothing of consequence made it hard to follow any discernible story or theme. ...more
Sarah
Feb 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author has a really different writing style that make the book kind of difficult to read and follow. The book tells of his family's struggle to become middle class and the relationship of class to the food you eat. ...more
Alyce
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Haney's vocabulary is to be commended, but reading the dictionary would be equally amusing. It was all over for me when he described his father's furniture as "inanimate entrails". He should have listened to his sister when she said "dispense with the peripherals and the tangents". ...more
Diana180
#teaching oddly enough, since I was supervising a dissertation about food blogs.
Estott
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This originated as a long magazine article- it was very good but the expansion didn't help. The early chapters about his childhood and family are the best part. ...more
JulieK
May 27, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: people
Kind of aimless, and the last third of the book felt more like a therapy session than a memoir.
Kyla
Mar 18, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Where was the food? For that matter, where were the good times usually inherent in the act of reading a book? Both were nowhere to be found.
Thus, I stopped reading.
Jenny Check
rated it it was ok
Jun 12, 2008
Georgia Gross
rated it liked it
Jan 27, 2017
Lori Holcomb
rated it it was ok
Aug 17, 2021
Candace
rated it did not like it
Mar 25, 2009
Andrea
rated it it was ok
Dec 30, 2016
Bianca
rated it it was ok
Aug 07, 2017
Jennb33 Brown
rated it it was ok
Apr 01, 2009
Nicole
rated it liked it
Mar 05, 2008
Beth
rated it did not like it
May 29, 2013
Giovanna
rated it liked it
Oct 02, 2008
Paige
Jun 15, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Another food memoir and I love it so far!
Meguchan
rated it really liked it
Apr 01, 2009
Jennie
rated it it was ok
Jul 21, 2009
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