Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger
Whenever I start to read a book that everyone seems to like and several of my friends write glowing reviews about and I absolutely loathe, I feel guilty. I feel that there is something wrong with me.
There is a scarcely-conscious ranking in my mind of how guilty I have to feel about disliking a book. At the top of the scale are the much-lauded cultural icons I really, really loathe, like Virginia Woolf. Lots of guilt there.
At the bo ...more
What is painfully apparent from the first chapter of this book is that Nigel Slater lacked nourishment from the day he was born -- and remained that way until he reached adulthood and found his own reason for being. He seems to have been born into a family which had refined the art of witholding what a growing boy needs -- proper nourishment in body or soul.
From the first, we are i ...more
It is subtitled "A boy's hunger", and his hunger is emotional at least as much as it is culinary. The result is sweet and sour.
There was a BBC TV adaptation in Dec ...more
It's actually much darker, exploring a childhood stained with death and a dysfunctional step family. There's also far too many references to various moments of sexual awakening. It's hard to see how these are relevant sometimes, and they're certainly much less enjoyable to read than the stories about food.
The main p ...more
I love my library's used-book sale because I find random things I never would have heard of otherwise. This is a sad and funny memoir about growing up obsessed with food. At first I thought it was going to be a male, foodie version of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life or A Girl Named Zippy . . . an entertaining memoir of a childhood in which nothing much scary or trag ...more
I felt sad for Nigel as a young boy. He seemed to lack so much. Gladly, he was able to find happiness as an adult.
When I finished this book, I immediately began to read Orxy and Crake. I was amazed at how many similar themes the two books shared. Mother leaves at a young age. Father is too distracted with life to pay attention to young boy. Many memories around food.
I think the two books make an interesting pair.
He just wanted to pour out his grief, his confusion, his loneliness of that terrible period in his life when his Mother had died; his Father had married the cleaning lady and his Father’s total indifference to him, Nigel.
‘Toast’ is written completely from the perspective of Nigel aged ten. There is no thought of ‘what could my Father be going through’ ‘what is my stepmother feeling? These adult thoughts never crossed his mi ...more
'Joan fussed over me all week, making steak for m ...more
Structure: I loved this structure, I seriously think it was one of the b ...more
I just read a The New Yorker article by Ian Parker about Edward St. Aublyn that there is such a glut on the publishing market in Britain about memoirs fr ...more
Slater lost his mum early on, his brother was much older and left home soon after, which left Slater alone with his dad for awhile. Then his dad finds a new woman with whom to share his life, and his son is resentful and angry and bitter about this still. She admitte ...more
It sounds like he had a pretty malnourished childhood, both emotionally and nutritionally. It makes for pretty awful reading in some aspects when you look at what he went through as a kid, but I think you need to look at the context of his life. Just lo ...more
An odd book in that you start reading it and only realise after a while what it is. An autobiography told through the medium of food. Which is only logical, I suppose, given that the author is a food critic for The Observer. But I thought it was nicely wrapped – the thing about writing an autobiography and publishing it is that you either have to just write down what happened on the assumption that everyone wants to know about your life, which works if you are Mick Jagger or Hill...more
I wasn't immediately engaged by Toast, although I certainly related to the burnt toast in the opening line. Toast isn't really toast unless the whole flat is filled with thick, black, choking smoke [I have no sense of smell and a bad habit of wandering off to do something more interesting]. At first, the little chapters on food that is rather unexciting (Arctic Roll, Sherry Trifle…) was too much like snacks. You have one but it doesn't fill you u ...more
This goes under the category of "a diary, autobiography or biography" as it is narrated by Nigel, the author, and how he looks back at his life through food. This intrigued me as it was a point of view I hadn't explored before and it entert ...more
Although best known for uncomplicated, comfort food recipes presented in earl ...more