Genre: Personal Memoirs

The Temporary Bride by Jennifer Klinec (3/5)

Posted August 18, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

The Temporary Bride by Jennifer Klinec (3/5)The Temporary Bride: A Memoir of Love and Food in Iran by Jennifer Klinec
Published by Virago Press Ltd on September 4th 2014
Genres: Food, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Personal Memoirs, Travel
Pages: 211
Format: Paperback
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"A relationship was a mathematical formula: the correct variables of age, beauty, morality and finances were entered and the output was a successful, peaceful marriage. It couldn’t be, therefore, that their Iranian son could feel desire for someone six years his senior, someone who didn’t come to him pure and untouched. I was an amusing visitor from another world and soon enough I should return to it, fading quietly into an anecdote …"
In her thirties, Jennifer Klinec abandons a corporate job to launch a cooking school from her London flat. Raised in Canada to Hungarian-Croatian parents, she has already travelled to countries most people are fearful of, in search of ancient recipes. Her quest leads her to Iran where, hair discreetly covered and eyes modest, she is introduced to a local woman who will teach her the secrets of the Persian kitchen.
Vahid is suspicious of the strange foreigner who turns up in his mother’s kitchen; he is unused to seeing an independent woman. But a compelling attraction pulls them together and then pits them against harsh Iranian laws and customs.
Getting under the skin of one of the most complex and fascinating nations on earth, The Temporary Bride is a soaring story of being loved, being fed, and the struggle to belong.

I selected this as my read for the “food memoir” task for Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge.

Set in Iran, I have to say my mouth was watering with many of the descriptions of local delicacies. It’s clear that the author is passionate about food, recipes, provenance and learning authentic dishes from around the world. However Klinec also comes across as spoilt and selfish. The product of rich parents who seemed to care more about money than their children.

Alongside the food memoir, this is also a story of love. Klinec meets Vahid, an Iranian citizen, who invites her to visit his family and learn from his mother’s cooking. They start a relationship which seems to be doomed from the very beginning.

Reading about her relationship with Vahid, I started to feel angry towards Jennifer. She seemed to be selfish and single-minded, with no real thought to the position she was putting Vahid in with regards his family and his community. That said, by the end my feelings had mellowed slightly, but I still think she could have been more respectful of the circumstances she was in.

For a food memoir, this book is also sorely lacking in recipes! For all she clearly has a love of the food she discovered, there was no further information on the dishes, which was really disappointing.

This was a good read and I enjoyed it. But the inclusion of some recipes would have made it even better!

Spectacles by Sue Perkins

Posted August 11, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Spectacles by Sue PerkinsSpectacles by Sue Perkins
Published by Penguin on July 28th 2016
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 437
Format: Paperback
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Spectacles is the hilarious, creative and incredibly moving memoir from much loved comedian, writer and presenter Sue Perkins.
When I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn't kept some of it. She had kept all of it - every bus ticket, postcard, school report - from the moment I was born to the moment I finally had the confidence to turn round and say 'Why is our house full of this shit?'
Sadly, a recycling 'incident' destroyed the bulk of this archive. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to see countless drawings of wizards, read a poem about corn on the cob, or marvel at the kilos of brown flowers I so lovingly pressed as a child. Secondly, it's left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself.
This, my first ever book, will answer questions such as 'Is Mary Berry real?', 'Is it true you wear a surgical truss?' and 'Is a non-spherically symmetric gravitational pull from outside the observable universe responsible for some of the observed motion of large objects such as galactic clusters in the universe?'
Most of this book is true. I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me.
Thank you for reading.

Praise for Spectacles

'Drama, tears and laughs - Spectacles has got it all. A brilliant, touching memoir suffused with love, it reminds you that life is best lived at wonky angles. I ADORED it' Jessie Burton, bestselling author of The Miniaturist
'Very funny . . . It seems there are two Sue Perkins: the TV one, who gabbles and pratfalls, and the sensitive one who aches. The first of course, exists to protect the second. They can both write. The first writes comedy, the second tragedy; in this sense, reading her memoir is very like meeting her'Sunday Times
'It's a proper book . . . so well written. Tight & bright & full of inspiration'Chris Evans, Radio 2

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since it was published, and although I waited until it was out in paperback, I have to say, it hasn’t disappointed!

This is a very entertaining memoir and glimpse into Sue Perkins’ life. It’s very much written in her “voice” and on occasion feels very much like having a conversation with a good friend over a cup of tea.

Sue comes across on TV as being very energetic and hyper, and this translates into the book with a lot of jumping around between different time periods, and stories left hanging and unfinished. I don’t want to spoil the text for anyone who hasn’t read it, but I did find this annoying and was left with a good few questions at the end of the book.

That said, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, best enjoyed with a slice of cake and a mug of tea.

Ready. Steady. READ!!!

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (3/5)

Posted July 29, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (3/5)Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Published by Spiegel & Grau on 2010
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Social Science, Penology
Pages: 298
Format: Kindle
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NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES * #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424--one of the millions of people who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman's story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison--why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they're there.   Praise for Orange Is the New Black   "Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can't unbind."--People (four stars)   "I loved this book. It's a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it."--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love   "This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter."--Los Angeles Times   "Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre's usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you."--USA Today   "It's a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one--both for the reader and for Kerman."--Newsweek.com

I’m a huge fan of the Netflix TV series of the same name, so I was keen to read the original book which sparked the OITNB craze.

This is a good read. You can definitely pick out characters from the TV show from the book – although some names have been changed. The Piper in the book is even more privileged and princessy that the one from the Netflix series, and although prison is not an experience you would choose to go through, she does seem to have a relatively easy time of things.

It’s an easy read, but it ends very suddenly which left me surprised. I suppose in real life you don’t have the luxury of scripted cliff-hangers, and being so closely associated with the TV series, you kind of expect more from the book.

It’s a good read. But I think I’ll go back to re-watching the series on Netflix!