originally posted on UrbanDomesticDiva.com:
In a Nutshell:
This was a book translated from french, and I could feel it at times where it got a little choppy and difficult. You get to know the character and her life through her storytelling and flashbacks, all while opening a "shabby-chic" restaurant in France. She does this with no formal cooking education and very little money, and pretty much as a way to run away from her past. As the story unfolds and she opens herself up to some of the characters that frequent her restaurant, you learn slowly what she is running away from. Revolving around her are some eccentric characters like some beatnik french college students, a neighboring florist who smokes too much and always gives her day old flowers, and an awkward college grad waiter named Ben who helps Myriam with a marketing plan and ideas to grow the restaurant (which work.) With Ben's help, Myriam grows a viable restaurant as well as comes to terms with some of her mistakes in her own life-and forgives herself. Throughout all this is a raw, delicious approach to her cooking and running a small, off-the-beaten path restaurant in France.
The connecting of the events of her life is difficult to piece together sometimes. She will drop a bomb in one chapter about her past and then elaborate on it 200 pages down the road, or will jump back to something a few chapters back in the middle of another thought. I am not sure if that is because it was translated or the way in which this writer works. It is a sad story, and triumphant at times. My favorite parts are when she writes about the cooking. The love affair with food and cuisine comes to life in this book. It almost makes you believe that love and passion in cooking alone can make a successful restaurant. It doesn't-Myriam finds out it takes a lot more, and you find out with her. I liked it a lot...did not love it. But some parts were very worth the read and beautiful.