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Lebovitz tells us much more than we really need to know, but this is still an engaging, entertaining, and delicious...

The tale of an acclaimed chef who decided he wanted to live in Paris—at any cost.

In Lebovitz’s last two books about Paris (My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, 2014, etc.), it was clear that there was more about the City of Lights sweetly simmering just below the surface ready to be served up. Written in a lighthearted style with healthy dashes of satire, wit, and humor, this book goes into detail about his experience purchasing an apartment in Paris. He had already been renting there, but he simply had to have his own place. Having previously lived in San Francisco—he worked for 13 years at Chez Panisse—Lebovitz felt somewhat prepared since the two cities have much in common. They’re both “famously expensive” to live in and feature “a collection of small villages bundled together,” and the residents love to talk food and dine. With the assistance of his French partner and interpreter, Romain, the author took the plunge. From the start, he knew this would be far more complicated than he realized. First, there were the medical screenings. As his banker told him, “we don’t want you to die.” After deciding where he wanted to live based on markets, bakeries, and restaurants, Lebovitz scoured newspaper listings, met with agents, and talked to owners (that is how most sales occur). After finally finding a place and making an offer, he had to go through a morass of legal and financial paperwork. Nearly a year later, it was his, but much expensive renovation work was still to come, including, of course, a better kitchen and oven. “In addition to my shirt, I had nearly lost my mind,” he writes. Scattered throughout are French recipes, from dandelion flatbread to chocolate soufflé: “Although I have my share of regrets, using good chocolate to make a soufflé isn’t one of them.”

Lebovitz tells us much more than we really need to know, but this is still an engaging, entertaining, and delicious divertissement.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8041-8838-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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