Friday, April 29, 2011

Recipe for Disappointment

Recipe for Life by Nicky Pellegrino was a bit of a disappointment, with a lot of hype for an average book.

After reading the beautiful weaving of Diana Gabaldon and Paulina Simons' writing, the language of Recipe for Life was so simple and quick, it was frustrating.

I've only ever not finished a book once - I hate not finishing books, no matter how bad it is, so I soldiered on and finished it in a day, which is also something I never do because I like to soak up every word at my own pace.

I'm not saying it was a terrible book, because I have read worse (An Afternoon in Summer to be exact), but it definitely isn't in my top five. I guess it's just a personal preference.

The author lives in New Zealand and I think that's part of the reason why it's constantly on the top lists in the bookstores, but it's really not what I expected at all.
It was hard to keep up, as the book moved so fast. One minute the main character is in her 20s, the next she's in her 40s.

You read the back cover and expect a typical "lost young woman goes to Italy to learn how to cook, fall in love and find herself" type of story and hope to wind up happy and inspired by the end, but what you get is a lost young woman who is just as lost at the end as she is in the beginning.

She doesn't find herself - she just goes to Italy, has an adventure and ends up back where she started.

My best judgment after reading a book is asking myself how I feel once I've turned the last page.

After every Diana Gabaldon novel, it was: "Oh my God, I can't believe I have to wait another three years for the next one!" And then I start inventing story lines for the next installment or reading her other novels again.

After Paulina Simons' Tatiana and Alexander series, I had tears of joy in my eyes, and I sat back, sighed, and had a moment to soak it all up. Then I wondered which Paulina Simons book I should read next.

After Recipe for Life, I breathed a sigh of relief, and said to my flatmate: "What the hell was the point in that?! Where were the secrets I was promised on the front cover?" And shoved it back in my bookcase.

So if you're expecting romance and love and the joy of finding a purpose in life, read something else. I would recommend Eat, Pray, Love by Liz Gilbert.

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