Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taking It Off the Shelf: Comfort Food

For this month's Taking It Off...the Shelf, I chose Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs. I read her The Friday Night Knitting Club series ages ago and thought they were great. I think I came to own a copy of this book because I was working at the bookstore and it was a bargain book. 30% off $6 or $7? Sign me up! I don't really know why it had been sitting on my shelf for so long but I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. I really liked it!

This is the paperback cover. I actually own
the hardcover but this one's so much prettier!
Here's the synopsis:
Shortly before turning 50, TV cooking show personality Augusta "Gus" Simpson discovers that the network wants to boost her ratings by teaming her with a beautiful, young new co-host. But Gus isn't going without a fight-whether it's off-set with her two demanding daughters, on-camera with the ambitious new diva herself, or after-hours with Oliver, the new culinary producer who's raising Gus's temperature beyond the comfort zone. Now, in pursuit of higher ratings and culinary delights, Gus might be able to rejuvenate more than just her career.
Normally I don't love books that feature older women and/or moms. This is purely a personality and lifestyle thing. I am young (mid-twenties) and without kids (thank goodness). I also tend not to like it when there are multiple characters that require multiple backstories. This is because I either get confused with all the characters or frustrated because characters aren't getting the time I think they need. Comfort Food had all of these things but Jacobs made it work. I think the multiple characters was fine for me because Gus is still the heart of this novel. Everyone else, as her daughter Sabrina once put it, is in her orbit. I like that Jacobs gave just the right amount of background on each of the secondary characters to let the reader know where they've come from and why they are the way they are without being overwhelming or boring. Each character brought a different flavour (pun intended) to the story and I loved that.

I really liked the cooking show aspect of the story. I'm a sucker for the Food Network (and am sad I don't currently have the channel) so a behind the scenes type story was so much fun. It kind of made me think about what goes into the cooking shows I watch and why I watch the ones I do. Would I have watched Gus' original, taped show? Likely not, but I do love Bake with Anna Olson. Would I have watched the new, live show? Definitely more likely. Not necessarily because it was live but because it just had an entertainment factor that I look for when I watch TV. What kind of Food Network/cooking shows do you like?

Gus made for an great and interesting main character. She seemed perfect but she was as flawed as the rest of us. No one can be perfect so no one wants to read about a perfection. Struggling with turning fifty is, I imagine, an issue that many women face. Gus wonders how she can be so old when she still feels so young (which I think we all feel like at some points in our lives, right?) and is trying to come to terms with her view on herself and how she views her daughters. They're in their mid/late twenties and they aren't her babies anymore. Side note: I loved the daughters, surprise surprise. They added the youth perspective that made this novel so well rounded.

I'm really glad I finally gave Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs a chance. I shouldn't have been surprised that I liked it so much! Since we're inching closer to Christmas, I think this book should be your go to for any of the older women in your life (mom, grandma, aunt, mother in law, etc.). I think they'll love it!

Next month...I think I might pick a newer book because I have a lot of books that I've collected over the past year that I really want to read. I'm thinking either The Meryl Streep Movie Club or All the Summer Girls

1 comment:

  1. This sounds cute! Like you I generally don't like books about older women (maybe because I'm still in my 20s too), but this one sounds like it might be good! Great review!


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