I am vociferously passionate about good books. And I hate adverbs.
I love the premise of cooking, of food play, of fun in the kitchen, but none of that happened. I was quite underwhelmed by this book, and it simply didn’t do it for me. Your mileage may vary.
I liked the sound of some of the recipes, but the whole story felt flat and undeveloped.
The language usage did nothing to soothe my spirit. The purple prose in here takes all the prizes and wins all the awards, while drowning us all in “juices”—so many juices, in fact, that already on the single page 10 there are five instances of the word. The use of adverbs like “rapturously” and “irresistibly,” are like telling me how I need to feel while reading the story.
The outline was good, this could have been a great story of redemption, of pulling yourself up out of despair. A story of helping friends and people you don’t know, of being a human being. Instead, it just enumerated all the shit that can go wrong in a young person’s life, and moved on. No deep analysis, just “Oh, and this, too” and off again.
I didn’t believe in the love story, and I do not believe in forgiving people for being assholes to children, like Hank’s mother had been.
The young girl that Ollie and Hank found, Rose, had a back story that was hair raising, but it was just announced, facts were sensationally dropped like bombs, and then that storyline was archived. There was a real story in there that never got off the ground, and leaving it like this? That felt more like exploiting her story than giving a true background. Writing about that kind of abuse so backhandedly and not seeing it through properly is nigh on criminal. Maddening. Like a token “Let’s have a little abuse in there, too. Make it really gory, and then drop it like a hot potato. Yeah.”
No. Just. No.
The niece, Addison, was too much. She talked like an old sailor, and while I know kids can sound funny at times, repeating what adults say around them, this was simply silly, especially seeing as none of the people around her talked like that.
Word choices. Do we seriously think that this sentence is sexy: “His nipples stood out like pencil erasers.”
When using foreign languages as a feature in stories, it is good to take three seconds to Google the used terms to make sure you get the spelling right. Hence, Crème Fraîche not [Crème Fraiche]—if you can bother to put an accent grave on the first, then you should keep your posh and put a circonflexe on the second. Or simply write without accents at all. Or use sour cream.
An Italian grandmother is a Nonna, not a nona.
And so on.
Yes, I can safely say this book didn’t do it for me. But one single paragraph spoke straight to my heart, this one:
“But there was another part—perhaps one that very much looked like a heart—that said he needed to move now because these were two people whom maybe God himself had thrown in his path to help. And they did not seem to have a lot of time to wait around while Ollie ‘thought things through’ or ‘looked before he leapt’. They needed him now.”
That right there is what this whole book should have been about, and it is what the blurb made me think it was going to be about. That right there was the essence of the story. But that’s not what the book ended up being about.
Damn shame, because I would have loved that book.
I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher, Dreamspinner Press, and a positive review wasn’t promised in return.