My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have read and enjoyed Reichl's memoirs but I was a bit worried how her first foray into fiction would go. My concern was unfounded as this is a wonderful novel about food, and family, and history, and NYC, and becoming yourself, and more food.
Billie is a young woman running from her youth into an unknown future who ends up with a dream job at a food magazine (probably a fictionalized version of Gourmet) that leads her down paths she never expected when the dream starts to unravel. She discovers a WWII vintage correspondence between a young girl and James Beard which leads her to make some additional discoveries about her own life. This novel is touching but not overly sappy and full of great lines.
"...when the magazine lost its last librarian, it lost its soul" (p.144)
"When you spend all day among old papers, the people come alive for you and you begin to see the present through different eyes. ... You begin to understand that time is no more than a trick of the mind; some days I'm convinced that my young self is still here, somewhere, just walking down a different street." (p. 217)
"That's one of the best things about writing letters you know: you get to be the person you wish you were." (p.363)The book ends with a recipe that I can't wait to try as soon as the weather cools off enough to turn on the stove. This book counts toward the Foodies Read 2014 Challenge and the Postal Reading 2014 Challenge.