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The Cookbook Collector: A Novel by Allegra…

The Cookbook Collector: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Allegra Goodman

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989668,671 (3.52)47
Title:The Cookbook Collector: A Novel
Authors:Allegra Goodman
Info:The Dial Press (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman



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Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
I would have given this 3 1/2 stars, I liked it but it was not quite a 4. ( )
  mara.murdoch | Nov 4, 2014 |
The writing was what gave this a two instead of a zero. The writing was literature but I found the story line to be wandering with two many plots and characters. It was like unedited. I would recommend this in parts to read good description. ( )
  LivelyLady | Aug 10, 2014 |
I powered through to the end for bookclub but I never would have bothered if it hadn't been bookclub. I hate pretty much every character and the various plot lines were boring and completely unbelievable. The dot.com stuff just felt all wrong and everything was just a caricature of real people and real lives. Throw in some random September 11th and various overwrought family revelations and tie it all up in a marriage bow. Ugh.
  amyem58 | Jul 16, 2014 |
We need to stop this thing where every woman who writes a serious book that includes family and personal relationships is automatically called a "modern Jane Austen." Not only does it undervalue the true brilliance of Austen's novels, which have rarely, if ever, been matched, but it also strikes me as kind of sexist. It's a knee-jerk comparison that isn't very thoughtful. "Look! A lady writer! Like Jane Austen!" No.

This is not Jane Austen. It follows relationships, sure. But Jane Austen wrote about manners and society, and she did it in a way that got her point across while (and this is the important part) being completely readable and engaging. Jane Austen could make you care about the most ridiculous characters. She wanted you to care. If you didn't, you wouldn't get the point.

Allegra Goodman, on the other hand, seemed to be almost daring me to care about this story and these characters. They wallowed in their human weakness, or wandered aimlessly through life, or worked very hard not to make decisions, or consciously did things despite the hurt it would cause the people they cared about. Or were supposed to care about. These are all very legitimate literary choices, but they distanced me from the characters. It made it hard to care, which just left the story and the writing itself. The story is meandering. It's entirely character driven for 75% of the book, and then at the end we get a very convenient convergence of characters. Behold! They're all connected after all! It felt cheap. And as for the writing, it didn't feel particularly beautiful or special. At least to me. It felt like I was having a conversation with someone who is pretty smart, and who knows it. And not only does she know, she's determined to show me, over and over again. It felt like performance when what I want as a reader is effortlessness. It takes more skill.

So, this is not the book for me. But Allegra Goodman is a critical darling. If that's a thing that matters to you, go for it. What do I know anyway? ( )
  librarymeg | Jun 20, 2014 |
A friend of mine loaned me the book as she knew I loved books about food and cooking. But as I discovered, the title is somewhat misleading. Oh there are cookbooks in there, an astounding collection of priceless historic cookbooks in fact, passages on which were totally fascinating and absorbing.

The trouble is this is only one of a virtual smorgasbord of themes which in the end left me feeling as bloated as if I’d over-indulged in a sampling of the cookbook recipes. There’s the Jewish theme, the dot.com theme, the 9/11 theme, the lost family connection theme, the sisterly tension theme, the tree saving theme, the materialism versus down home values theme and probably heaps more I missed.

There was remarkable consistency about the characterisation in this book. I’m sure this wasn’t the intention but I found myself wishing each and every one of them had ended upon on the ill fated plane on 9/11, rather than just a couple. In particular the two main female characters, the sisters, supposedly so contrasting in personalities, values, goals etc. that they would ultimately complement and bring out the best in each other, were unbearably irritating and one dimensional. In particular the flaky, tree hugging, self-righteously vegan Jess, who despite her schoolgirlish naiveté and total inability to do much more than flaunt her half-formed philosophical opinions to anyone who can’t escape, has the ultra-cool mega-rich man about town cookbook buyer (a heart breaker from way back because he can’t find the perfect woman) falling at her feet by the end of the book.

But enough about what I didn’t like. I did enjoy the cookbook parts even though they were too sparse given the book’s title and I did keep reading. So I admit I hung in there for the star-crossed lovers (two couples in this case) to finally fall into each other’s arms. But that’s just me. ( )
  Anne_Green | Apr 23, 2014 |
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Goodman captures the fizz and folly of the dot.com boom with wit and perspicuity...
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Rain at last. Much-needed rain, the weathermen called it. Rain drummed the little houses skyrocketing in value in Cupertino and Sunnyvale.
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"...a novel about getting and spending, and about the substitutions we make when we can't find what we're looking for..." --inside cover.

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