Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Review: Comfort Food

Summary: Shortly before turning the big 5-0, boisterous party planner and Cooking with Gusto! personality Augusta “Gus” Simpson finds herself planning a birthday party she'd rather not—her own. She's getting tired of being the hostess, the mother hen, the woman who has to plan her own birthday party. What she needs is time on her own with enough distance to give her loved ones the ingredients to put together successful lives without her. Assisted by a handsome up-and-coming chef, Oliver, Gus invites a select group to take an on-air cooking class. But instead of just preaching to the foodie masses, she will teach regular people how to make rich, sensuous meals—real people making real food. Gus decides to bring a vibrant cast of friends and family on the program: Sabrina, her fickle daughter; Troy, Sabrina's ex-husband; Anna, Gus's timid neighbor; and Carmen, Gus's pompous and beautiful competitor at the Cooking Channel. And when she begins to have more than collegial feelings for her sous-chef, Gus realizes that she might be able to rejuvenate not just her professional life, but her personal life as well. ... -- penguin group

A few weeks ago, Matthew from Penguin Group asked me if I was interested in receiving an ARC of COMFORT FOOD by Kate Jacobs. I was positively thrilled since I really enjoyed reading Ms. Jacobs first book THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB. I was a little worried since some authors' second books are a little disappointing, however, COMFORT FOOD is just as good if not better than THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB. Of course, both books deal with things I love to do -- knit and cook (and eat!)

I read THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB when it first came out, so it's not exactly fresh in my mind; but I have to say that the basic premise of COMFORT FOOD did remind me a little of Ms. Jacobs' first book. Both books have a cast of characters who are brought together for a specific reason (this time it's a cooking show on television.) Each character is flawed (some more than others) and the reader becomes very involved in their healing process. While THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB was a sad, touching story, COMFORT FOOD was a little bit lighter read and actually had some very funny moments.

I am such a sucker for books like this one, especially when they have a happy ending. I love the quirky characters, and I enjoy "seeing" how they all interact with each other. What I most enjoy, though, is how the characters learn from their experiences and from each other -- and eventually become better (and happier) people. I think most readers will agree with me that some of the characters remind me of people that I deal with everyday.

COMFORT FOOD will be available to everyone on May 6th. I have no doubt that many book clubs will be talking about it this spring and summer. I didn't have any luck finding discussion questions for COMFORT FOOD (it must be a little too soon), but I'm sure that they will be available in the very near future. If you enjoyed THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB, you should really check out COMFORT FOOD!

Also review at:
The Written Word
Bloggin' 'Bout Books
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
Book Club Classics

1 comment:

heather (errantdreams) said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful! I love the premise. I'll have to add it to my wish list!