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Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites Hardcover – July 9, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
The first part of the book, dealing with her early life as the child of hippie parents, was fascinating, though at the same time disturbing. I had a lot of sympathy for the young Kate Christensen. I wish parents would realize how profoundly their self-centeredness affects their children for life.
My interest in the author's descriptions of food lasted for the entire book, but I must say I quickly lost interest in her adult life, soaked as it is in alcohol and lust. As the book progresses, the author morphs into a person I didn't particularly like. She estranges herself from her mother and her sister, and writes prettily about it: "Susan and I had some minor sisterly spat one day over a lunch of pierogis and borscht at a Polish place on Second Avenue." The "spat" turns into years of estrangement, to the point that they pass each other on the street without acknowledging each other. It isn't until her mother becomes gravely ill that they all patch things up.
I suspect alcohol had a lot to do with her difficult life and fractious relationships, as it does for so many writers. "I drank excessively out of my chronic and ongoing sense of self-loathing, to escape myself, to flee the annoying chirpiness of my too clear, too verbal brain, so recently educated, so freshly imbued with the powers of literary analysis and writerly dogma," she writes. Yet her rationalizing fell flat for me.Read more ›
Blue Plate Special could easily have been entitled "all the apartments and jobs and guys I ever knew." The foodie bits were disappointing, repetitive, and contradictory (I ate everything/nothing. I ate the same thing every day for a long time. Then later, I ate a different same thing every day for a long time). I slogged through it, waiting for humor, or an insight or two from a voice, that, instead of just narrating this unhappy life, might uplift it a bit into something relevatory, comforting, or interesting. Alas.
This book wants (though doesn't try very hard) to be in the brat pack of Isabel Gillies/India Knight-ish books - that "yes, I'm a little neurotic but shit, life is still fun if you can roll with the punches, slap some flowers in a jar, and still go Maine every summer" genre.Read more ›
This book is very well written, and, as the summary notes, each event in Kate's life is described at least partly in terms of food or the absence of food. For me, this was some of her best writing. No matter what she is describing, whether it is a simple soft cooked egg or a more complex chicken tagine, she makes the food sound great. Her writing here reminded me of Ernest Hemingway (though I suspect she would abhor this comparison)--but Hemingway could describe food so that you wanted to go fishing, catch a trout, and cook it over an open fire on the side of the stream. These food descriptions are like that, and Christensen includes one or two recipes at the end of every section of the book.
Kate's mother eventually leaves her father, taking Kate and her two younger sisters with her. Though this is Kate's story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Her novels are wonderful but this is scattershot and the connection with the food seems contrived and the recipes pedestrian. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Roxane Fletcher
I'm of mixed minds about this book.
It's very readable, and well-written with that as a criterion. Read more
one of those books you have to go through this and that
and still never get a full picture. pieces and parts where it feels
as if things are tied together
and... Read more
Having read one of her novels and thought it okay, I bought this. I imagine it was cathartic for the author to write it, but it was a taxing read. Wouldn't recommend.Published 10 months ago by river view
I agree with some of the previous reviewers comments in that the recipes seemed to be last minute add-ins, disconnected from the rest. Read morePublished 16 months ago by M. Archer