Thursday, June 13, 2019

Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl Review

Title: Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir
Author: Ruth Reichl
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

                I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

                I’ve always been a great fan of Ruth Reichl, from watching her on food shows such as Top Chef and reading her restaurant reviews in The New York Times. I’ve been curious about her other books of food writing, so when I heard about Save Me the Plums on Instagram, I reserved it at my local library. It’s been sitting on the top of my stack for a while now, and I wanted to make sure I was able to review it before I had to return it. This wry, honest and sidesplitting memoir had me laughing, gasping, and crying as I followed her journey to become the manager of the now defunct Gourmet magazine. I very much enjoyed it, though I was hoping that the focus would be more on the food. However, it’s definitely got me curious about the rest of Riechl’s extensive body of work, as well as food writing and nonfiction in general. It also makes me sad that I didn’t realize Gourmet’s existence before it went under.

                Ruth Reichl, in essence, is a writer. That’s how she’s made her living for a number of years, so she was, to say the least, surprised when she was approached to take over a classic food magazine, Gourmet. Which also inspired her to plunge into the world of food and food writing, not unironically. Feeling intimidated and completely out of her depth, she decides to go for it anyway, eager for an opportunity to try something new and be closer to her family for the first time in years. Hilarity ensues, and so does innovation: Reichl publishes the controversial David Foster Wallace article about boiling lobsters alive, and more besides. Seeing the magazine through many changes, I really feel that the magazine, classic, was really in its modern heyday when she was heading the charge. This book was thoughtful, entertaining, tender and surprisingly funny; I’d really like to explore more of her work. As I said, I’d really liked it if more food was involved, but it was very good! I’m happy I read it, and I’m really looking forward to reading more of Ruth Reichl and food writing in general. The bottom line: Hilarious and grim, thoughtful and entertaining, I loved Save Me the Plums! Next on deck: The Boy Next Story by Tiffany Schmidt!

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