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Memoir of the Sunday Brunch by Julia Pandl
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Memoir of the Sunday Brunch (edition 2012)

by Julia Pandl

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Member:Donura1
Title:Memoir of the Sunday Brunch
Authors:Julia Pandl
Info:Algonquin Books (2012), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Julia Pandl is the youngest of nine children born to George and Teresa Pandl. Her dad owned a restaurant in Milwaukee, and every Sunday each child was expected to work the famous Sunday brunch. She recounts this life in Memoir of the Sunday Brunch.

I have to tell you how much I loved this book! You not only get an insider's look at what a tough life the restaurant business is, you also get a wonderful, honest look at life in a big Catholic Midwestern family, and Julia's relationship with her tough, loving father is so beautifully written it will make you want to give your own dad a hug.

George not only loved food, family and the church, he was a voracious reader. He even read during mass, though they were always books with a religious theme, to be fair. He was a huge presence in his family's life, and Julia loved him very much, even though he was always trying to feed food to his family that was leftover from the restaurant- as in leftover from months and years ago.

When she was fourteen, she asked if she could drive them to the restaurant, and George let her drive a little bit further each week, until soon she was driving them all the way. These rides cemented their close, loving relationship.

Working the brunch was not easy. Julia's first job was picking up trash in the parking lot. Next she moved onto peeling shrimp, and soon her job was making the pancakes for the line. As someone who owned a fast food restaurant, this section of the book had a special appeal for me.

As a Catholic, I also enjoyed reading about how the Pandl's faith informed their life. Terry had religious statues, rosaries and funeral cards all over the house. Terry is not a big part of the book until she loses a foot to diabetes. Julia's relationship with her mother seems to deepen as she helps to care for her aging parents.

The end of the book is very moving. Julia and her siblings must deal with her parents' serious illnesses, and these last few chapters are something that will make everyone reflect upon their own parents, as this is something that most of us will face at some point in our lives.

There is so much to love here in Memoir of the Sunday Brunch. Julia Pandl writes from the heart; with all the fun, the joy, the fighting, the hard work, the love, and the sorrow that living in a big family brings. This is one of my favorite book of this year, and it makes me appreciate my family even more. ( )
  bookchickdi | Mar 1, 2014 |
A lovely memoir about food, memory, and family. Read a longer review here: http://booklovercook.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/food-books-i-love-memoir-of-the-su... ( )
  booklovercook | Feb 20, 2014 |
This is a truly wonderful love story of a family. Her stories had me laughing out loud in some places and the sections around a death in the family broke my heart? Julia Pandl wrote just like we feel during such emotional times. I haven't seen grief expressed so well and so creatively before. I never thought I would say that I would read anything by a publisher. But Algonquin is masterful. Their editorial staff is remarkable and I will read anything they do. This is just one fine example of the terrific quality if writing that they publish. Years ago I was part of their Marching & Chowder Society. I'm thrilled to find they have kept their high standards and are still putting out exceptional work. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
This was a wonderful book about life in a big family and a long time family restaurant. Hearing the tail from the youngest of one children was very well written, I could truly see in my mind her life growing up with dad as the chef and chief of the family. Nice read. ( )
  mchwest | Mar 7, 2013 |
There are a lot of food-related memoirs out there, but Memoir of the Sunday Brunch by Julia Pandl is an enjoyable take on growing up in a Wisconsin restaurant family that will resonate with a lot of readers. Maybe especially those who grew up in the late 70s/early 80s when middle-class children had a lot more unstructured free time than they generally do now, but sometimes couldn’t escape spending it (gasp!) doing chores, or even working in the family business.
Julia Pandl, the youngest of nine children, was twelve years old in July 1982 when she started working Sunday brunch at her father’s restaurant. As an adult, the author does stand-up comedy on the side; her good sense of humor and sense of timing come through in her writing.
Read complete review at Bay State Reader's Advisory blog. ( )
  baystateRA | Dec 28, 2012 |
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Part coming-of-age story, part glimpse into the restaurant business, the author shares her initiation, at the age of 12, into the rite of the Sunday brunch at her father's Milwaukee-based restaurant where she and her siblings learned life lessons that would shape them for all the years to come.… (more)

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