Tag Archives: Family

Review: Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest
By J. Ryan Stradal
(Pamela Dorman Books, Hardcover, 9780525429142, July 28, 2015, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Food has a way of bringing people together but in this novel, not only do they come together, but they continually evolve to discover who they really are.

The Rest of It:

Lars Thorvald, a chef, spends his days consumed with the beauty of the bounty before him. His wife Cynthia, an aspiring sommelier, appears to be his perfect match, but when their daughter Eva is born, Cynthia realizes that motherhood is not for her and abandons both her husband and infant daughter to pursue a life elsewhere.

This was a wonderful read. Many have said that it reads like a collection of short stories but I didn’t get that feeling at all. Each chapter is based on an ingredient that becomes very important at the end of the novel, but it lends a certain mystery to the story as new characters are introduced and the pieces begin to come together.

If you are a foodie, you will enjoy this book. Even if you’re not, you will enjoy this book because it’s smart and the characters are a little quirky and flawed but they all meld together to tell a really good story.

It’s about family and friends and really, the pursuit of happiness and whatever your definition of happiness may be.

This is a debut novel for Stradal but you’d never know it while reading it. It’s a delightful read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Make sure you check out these additional resources:

Fun Resources for your Book Club!

Online Book Club Kit (recipes, wine pairings, playlists!)
Q & A with J. Ryan Stradal

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Sunday Matters: Losing My Dad

Sunday Matters

Right Now:

Taking a break from my normal Sunday Matters template to talk about my dad a little. For years, he’s been plagued by diabetes related conditions (blindness, kidney failure, kidney transplants x 2,  staph infections, etc.) and this past week, he gave in to them and passed away.

We’ve not had a typical father/daughter relationship but there were moments, very specific moments where I felt a connection and those moments are what I am trying to focus on now. One memory I have is the two of us spending the entire day at the Central Library in Los Angeles. My love of reading definitely started from those visits. I was only 4 years old and he’d sit me at a table with a stack of books and we’d sit there all day reading. Moments like that were rare but they are what I remember.

I feel oddly disconnected but at the same time very much in the center of it. I just feel so strange. I have never lost someone so close to me.

There are things that need to be addressed as far as my mom and sister are concerned. Of which, I have very little control over. The situation is very dire and although I have no trouble making decisions on most days, the decisions needed to made here leave me completely overwhelmed. Dysfunctional families are fun to read about, but not much fun to be a part of. To complicate matters, they don’t seem to want my help.

I just need a moment to think about it all.

This Week:

This week will be spent trying to figure stuff out. In the mean time, I am still on social media as a form of distraction. I am still reading because if I stop I feel as if I won’t be able to function. I’ll still be blog hopping and chatting away with all of you because that’s how I deal with things.

Grateful for:

Supportive friends and family.