Friday, April 10, 2009

Worth reading

Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life is a memoir, with recipes, of a young woman who is in love with food and cooking. It is also a tribute, almost unbearable to read at times, to her father; a man who radiated a sort of slouchy, goofy joie de vie that brought delight and illumination to Wizenberg's own life. When he becomes ill with advanced cancer and fails in awful ways she describes unstintingly, the book becomes a sort of coming of age story -- that's a lazy way of putting it, and doesn't get at everything, but it does capture Wizenberg's initial confusion and eventual serendipitous happiness.

I bought it in the Amazon Kindle format, which was a big mistake: many of the recipes look great, but it's hard to imagine cooking them from that tiny screen. I went that route for instant gratification and to save some money. Besides, as I already said, I wasn't sure I could read the thing. I'm sorry now for the electronics limitations because I wonder if L. might want to read it -- she lost her own beloved, silly father to pancreatic cancer when she was young, and he was relatively "old" at the time of his death. (Wizenberg's father was 75, which I thought might be a point of connection. Although some people apparently expected them to, neither L. nor Wizenberg ever extracted much comfort from losing beautiful, vibrant loved ones of advanced age.)

I have some quibbles with the book, but I 'm not doing a review here, and the great things about it far outweigh the caveats: check it if out if it interests you. Wizenberg's blog is Orangette.

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