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Wine Girl: A sommelier's tale of making it in the toxic world of fine dining Kindle Edition
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"Gritty, eloquent...a captivating story of resilience from a sommelier who hustled hard to conquer her profession."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Wine Girl is funny, bracing, disturbing, and above all necessary. Victoria reveals the best and darkest in who we are and how we dine. I couldn’t put it down." -- Bianca Bosker, NYT Bestselling author of Cork Dork
"Sommelier Victoria James's deeply personal book is by turns harrowing and inspiring, incomprehensible and educational. From Wine Girl, I learned as much about the resilience of the human spirit as I had about the wonders of wine. And turned the last page with a profound feeling of gratitude to Victoria for sharing her story and becoming a model for women everywhere." -- Dana Cowin, former editor-in-chief of Food and Wine
"While informative about what it takes to become a sommelier, the focus of this moving memoir is more on James’s personal journey. A satisfying read." -- Library Journal
"Victoria James's journey from roadside-diner waitress, theme-park fairy princess, and drug-addled victim of abuse to the pinnacle of New York's haughty wine world reads like something out of a great fable by Charles Dickens. This affecting, informative memoir is crucial reading for wine lovers, food lovers, and anyone thinking about making their way in the rough-and-tumble world of big-time restaurants." -- Adam Platt, New York Magazine restaurant critic --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Victoria James has worked in restaurants since she was thirteen. She was certified as a sommelier when she was twenty-one, making her the youngest sommelier in the country. She was Food & Wine’s Sommelier of the Year in 2018, and has appeared on both Forbes and Zagat’s “30 Under 30” lists. She has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York City, including Marea and Aureole. Currently, she is the Beverage Director and partner at Cote, a Michelin-starred hot spot in the Flatiron district. She is the author of Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé, which Harper Design published in 2017.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B081PGMLJ8
- Publisher : Fleet (March 19, 2020)
- Publication date : March 19, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 1462 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 341 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0062961675
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,438 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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My father made well over 6 figures a year most of our childhood. We grew up in a 5-6 bedroom houses and never had to share a bedroom. We had more food than we knew what to do with (believe me, I ate it all). I don't know what the claims of pickle juice and crackers being all we had to eat came from. We had nannies who lived with us and ate just fine. We were beyond privileged.
Did my father have a drinking issue? Yes, there was a time when he struggled with this after he was in one of the tower that collapsed in NYC on 9/11. Bodies landed around him. He almost died. He walked from NYC to NJ and we didn't know until 10pm that night when he walked in the door covered in white ash that he'd survived. He was a single father at that point and we had a nanny, so he just had to "get back to normal" after that. He had to keep working and providing for his family. He didn't get help or get time off to work on that trauma. So, yeah, he turned to alcohol for a while. None of that is mentioned in the book. Victoria portrays him as a one dimensional character and she's this perfect hero.
She makes reference after reference to "taking care of our family." My sisters all paid for their own colleges or got free rides. We never had to buy our own food/clothes/etc unless it was something fun or extra we wanted. We all had full health insurance through my father until we were 26 years old, of which I know 100% Victoria utilized. She claims in the book she had no health insurance, but there are literally a ton of email exchanges between her and my dad about her asking for help getting her acupuncture covered by insurance because that was the only treatment our insurance denied and she liked that a lot.
Our mother isn't mentioned in the book much except as being mentally ill and that her journals and documents somehow prove Victoria's story to be true (despite discrediting her in the same sentence due to her mental illness). My mother is very ill, and her journals are a reflection of that. She had extreme postpartum psychosis after pregnancies and left when our youngest sister was 2 months old. I raised her after that, not Victoria. I have the mothers day cards from our youngest sister to prove that and tons of aunts and cousins who will attest to that. My mother has pretty severe autism and she struggles with a lot of personal connections, but she's not a monster either, even though, yeah, all of us have been hurt by her neglect and absence. Myself especially, despite trying to give her grace for her limitations.
She says my brother was forcefully hospitalized by my father and taken in an ambulance against his will. What actually happened was my brother burned our basement down when he was playing with matches. Because of the property damage monetary amount and that this wasn't his first go at this, the police/fire marshall gave my father two options: mental health assessment or legal charges. My father had to make the awful decision to drive my brother to the hospital and have him evaluated where the professionals decided he needed to be admitted. An awful situation, for sure, but not my father's fault.
Honestly, there's so much more but I won't list it all. You can Google things for yourself to see how inaccurate this is. In fact, most of the reviews on this book question the validity and they didn't even know us. That says something.
Family isn't perfect. I'm very very far from perfect. I was abused by a principal at school when I was a child and turned very angry and bitter after that and took that out on my siblings and myself. My parents had a hard time figuring out how to help me. But, it's not okay for Victoria to paint a picture of a childhood that absolutely did not happen in order to try and paint herself the hero. Even the stories she tells about her sexual assaults are so vastly different than what she reported to us back then or to the police. It just doesn't make any sense.
There are so many people who struggle in the world with REAL issues of neglect and abuse. We had some painful times, without a doubt. But it is dismissive and belittling to pretend we were working class or anything below completely privileged. It's dismissive and cruel to attack my father for his actions when he was a human being struggling being a single parent after 9/11. Victoria told my father she said "nothing negative about him in the book" and promised to come show it to him a month before publication. He never heard from her again. He found out she was having a child via an Instagram post along with everyone else in our family. He's never been allowed to meet his granddaughter, despite being a loving and doting grandfather to his other grandchild. The pain is gut wrenching to watch this all unfold.
Where's the self-reflection? Where's the humanity and flawed aspects of everyone? Where's the realizations of how her eight years of heavy drug use and dating unhealthy, toxic men led to choosing partners who continue to degrade her and look down on her? A husband who cuts her off from her family and screams and lunges at her sister two days after her sister was beaten by her now-ex husband? You cannot write a memoir and pretend to be a hero without showing how you've learned and grown from your experiences. This memoir is just a list of all the terrible (and mostly untrue) things that happened to her and how she succeeded anyway despite hurting dozens of people in the process. That's not okay. That's not truth.
Do better, Victoria. This isn't okay.
She’s the reason I’m well and loved, and always has been. She has such a natural gift for taking care of others that I only wish the industry would have cared for her in the same way.
This is jarring, eye opening, and essential read. I love everything about it.
A depressing story of a young woman that is continually sexually harassed , raped multiple times and has
genuine loathing for almost everyone she worked with or served in her career as somm.
If just a fraction of her story is true, I don't see why any woman would seek a career in the wine/hospitality
I certainly hope her life improves. Would not recommend for those looking for a wine book, perhaps
better placed as a feminist read.
Top reviews from other countries
Cleary the book affected me a lot and I read it over a couple of days.
She is one tough cookie and my hat goes off for in admiration.
Victoria James writes from the heart about the path to her becoming one of the best sommeliers in the US and the fight she endured to gain the recognition that she so rightly deserves.
The author’s writing style is very readable and conveys the hard work she has undertaken, together with a clear interest in both working for customers but her passion for wine.