Photographer, book reviewer, mama, cat-lover in Seattle. Originally from England.
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School library volunteer at my son's K8 school. Member of ALA and YALSA.
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What an interesting read, as in, I’ve never read anything quite like that before, and I’ve never come away from a book that was NOT a cookbook, thinking about food like I have with this one. Bread, glorious bread! It’s the central subject, and I was actually warned before reading it about the ‘dangers’ of reading it on an empty stomach, and about how you end up craving your carbs afterwards. A young lady who discovers a love of baking bread and gives up her life in the tech world is the simplest way to put this book, but it’s SO much more.
What I didn’t expect was the underlying long-distance love story, which I enjoyed very much, and several other little quirks that author Robin Sloan brings to the (restaurant) table. He has a way with words that is so unusual and full of fabulous descriptions that your senses are filled up when you read this book. I hate to admit it, but there were times that I was so distracted by the descriptions of noises (these were surprisingly the most amazing to me), smells, tastes, that I lost track of the story at times. Sloan also comes up with the most glorious names for characters! And the contrast in the book between technology and the basic act of doing something simple like baking bread is such a fantastic thing to think about. What may turn off some readers is the constant dialog about bacteria and fungus (which of course is central to the basis for starting off bread, as well as cheese); I’m not squeamish but it distracted me sometimes! But there’s a lot of science in cooking, and that has to brought up if you’re talking about this topic in-depth.
I can absolutely see this novel being made into a TV show, and these characters and the concept being written about by the creators of maybe ‘The Good Place’ plus the writers of ‘The Office’. There’s a lot of ‘food for thought’ for a TV version for something even beyond the confines of this book.
I can see why this has become an unusual, and almost ‘cult’ hit of a book; just don’t read it when you’re hungry.
*It’s also the best advertisement I’ve ever seen for King Arthur Flour.