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Recipes from the Dump

by Abigail Stone

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683338,695 (3.13)4
In a totally original first novel that's as American as Whitney Otto's How to Make an American Quilt, as satisfying as Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate, Stone tells the story of a woman's hunt for the essential ingredients in a cluttered world, a mock cookbook for our culture.
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This is a quirky one, hard to place in a genre other than just lumping it in general fiction.
Gabby is in her thirties, overweight, working yet lives below the poverty line, and has three children though she's never been married. She listens to Shakespeare on tape and memorizes lines, and her only close friend is elderly neighbor Hester, whom she walks around the shore with as they watch the progress made on low-income housing nearby that caused the forest to be cut down. It's the early 90's in a small Vermont town, and Gabby is still holding on to her hippie days as much as possible.
Gabby's loneliness is palpable, a desperation she keeps returning to. At first she makes light of it even as she's acknowledging it, but as times passes it turns to depression. Yet just when she reaches her most desperate moods, when she wonders why she can't get anyone, one of a couple of interested men appear and she is reminded that she still has standards.
Funny and introspective. The title refers not to workable recipes but parodies of recipes, ones that call for telemarketers, mailmen delivering bills and creepy strangers in the ingredients list. ( )
  mstrust | Dec 15, 2020 |
35.
  kitchengardenbooks | Mar 22, 2010 |
I picked this up at a library book sale based on the title. I thought even if I don't like the story I love recipes. Very few of the recipes were even real.

The main character whined and complained the whole book about how overweight and sloppy she was and about how she couldn't find a good man or any man at all. The problem was that she never did anything to fix her life. I don't see how we as readers are supposed to like her when she doesn't even seem to to like herself all that much.

There was no plot, no advancement in the story. I had to force myself to finish reading it. ( )
  laby | Nov 20, 2009 |
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In a totally original first novel that's as American as Whitney Otto's How to Make an American Quilt, as satisfying as Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate, Stone tells the story of a woman's hunt for the essential ingredients in a cluttered world, a mock cookbook for our culture.

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