Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel coauthored The Recipe Club, a story of two friends, Lilly and Val who grow up, eventually grow apart, and reconnect after many years pass. Through their childhood and early adulthood they continued to swap recipes back and forth, sharing food and friendship.
While a novel, I feel as though I should mention the overall appearance of this book. While not discernible from the outside, this book is not set up like a regular novel. The paper is a higher quality, and there are colorful recipes alternating with text (mostly emails and letters the girls wrote to each other). My husband thought I was crazy last night when I commented on even the weight of this book, but it is also heavier than a normal novel- maybe that high quality paper?
As I was reading, I didn't always take the time to look over the recipes, which made for very fast reading, but they usually went along with whatever event Lilly and Val were experiencing in their own lives. There is also a recipe index at the end allowing readers to locate a recipe they may want to use.
This book gets applause for appearance and originality alone. The story felt rather trite and predictable to me... two friends who grew up together and had a falling out. Why they had a falling out is not revealed until after you read the letters they wrote each other from childhood to early adulthood. The novel then shifts back to the present when Lilly's father, Isaac, passes away. He had been a very influential figure in both Lilly and Val's lives - and not always in a positive way. The two women meet up once more to talk and sort things out and reconcile. Lilly, who had been looking for love her entire life, finally finds happiness, and she and Val are able to resume their friendship with new understanding toward each other.
I had such high hopes for this book, that perhaps reality just could not measure up to what I expected. Not horrible, just so-so.

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