Anne's Reviews > Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
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's review
Aug 03, 2007

really liked it

Reichl is the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, and this is her memoir about "Growing up at the table." As she tells the stories of her life, growing up with a manic depressive mother, going to boarding school in Montreal, and surviving in a commune in Berkeley, she includes recipes she loves and describes her unique and constant connection with food. Reichl is a good story-teller, and I look forward to trying some of her recipes. I was, however, deeply disturbed by the portrayal of her mother in the book. Her mother does have a very interesting relationship with food that clearly affects Reichl (and these are some of the best stories in the book). But, like any dysfunctional family, I suppose, she and her father seemed to live in constant denial of her mother's mental illness. Reichl addresses the difficulties of living with her mother repeatedly, but her solution was usually to run away (as her brother did) and leave her father to pick up the pieces. It is a really tragic background to Reichl's life which I would have liked to see developed a bit more - but perhaps this was not necessarily the point of the book.
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Karen I would encourage giving the author a bit of a break, because I don't think in the 60's and 70's families did treat mental illness in a head-on open way-I would argue that we are still fighting for that today!

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