I think I first heard about Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter from Entertainment Weekly. Yes, I read that.
I was intrigued by the cover, and by the fact that it’s written by a successful chef (and uh… I like food. Obviously). I know, I know, you should not necessarily judge a book by its cover. But after finishing this fantastic book I have to say, the cover really does fit the contents.
Hamilton is, like, so edgy. And funny. And interesting. With just the right amount of literary gloss and maybe just a pinch or two of (food) snobbery. Even if you are not interested in cooking this is a really fun memoir, Hamilton had such a fascinating life. After her parents divorced when she was a young adolescent she was left alone one summer at the family’s home and had to learn (quickly) how to provide for herself. She got a job, smoked cigarettes, shop lifted clothes and stole a few cars (which she always returned). Before she was even 18 she had already moved to NY and worked at a waitress (serving alcohol) and doing coke in her spare time.
Pretty gritty, huh?
It gets even better though, in my opinion, as you watch Hamilton grow into a (reluctant, at first) chef and eventually own her own successful restaurant and start a family. Her honesty and wit hold you to the very last page though, as she does not leave the reader with a tidy little happily-ever-after ending. She is still wrestling with marital issues and finding her place among her (Italian) in-laws even on the very last page of the book. This leaves a lot of questions the reader (or at least, uh, me) might have unanswered. But I found Hamilton’s voice and perspective truly refreshing, captivating and fun. (I’m sure she would roll her eyes at that last adjective. Ha!)
Loved it. The end.