Sunday, January 04, 2015
The Glass Kitchen-Foodies Read 2015
This is my first book for the Foodies Read 2015 Challenge. I am aiming for Pastry Chef
(4 to 8 books)
The Glass Kitchen: A Novel of Sisters by Linda Francis Lee
St. Martins Press, 2014, 375pages
Copy I read was from my local public library.
From the publisher's blurb:
"The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family."
My first read for the Foodies Read 2915 is a huge disappointment.
Portia does not "give into the pull of love." She lets herself be manipulated by Gabriel, a control freak who doles out his kisses, caresses, and rare smiles as if he is rewarding an obedient child. It's like a bad 1950s movie where the man knows what the woman wants and he'll give it to her when he's darn good and ready and if she questions it, he'll pick her up, toss her over his shoulder, and carry her off.
All the glorious descriptions of food (and the food does sound good) can not cure the sick-to-my stomach feeling I got every time this jerk came near her. By the time I finished the book I had no desire to look at the recipes thoughtfully included at the end.
The forgiveness part of the blurb is accurate. This woman forgives alright, she forgives way too much: her lover's commandeering ways, his lies and deception, his total lack of understanding of his two daughters. She also forgives a major betrayal by one of her sisters. She is even pushed around by her own "gift," a sort of paranormal intuition to know ahead of time just which foods to prepare for potential diners.
There is a story here, other than the yucky "romance." It concerns the reasons for the animosity between Gabriel and his brother, which partly explains why Gabriel and his daughters have such a messed up relationship. I wish that story line had been better developed.
Twelve year old Ariel, the younger of Gabriel's daughters, is seeing a psychiatrist. Frankly, everyone in this book should be in therapy.
( Both sets of sisters have Shakespearean names. Portia's sisters are Cordelia and Olivia; Ariel's sister is Miranda. The Shakespeare play that came to my mind while I was reading this book was The Taming of the Shrew. We get the feeling at the end of that play that Katherine can hold her own with Petruchio. I not as optimistic about Portia in The Glass Kitchen.)
I hate to start out the year and the challenge with such a negative review, but I should not have started this book, let alone finished it.