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SOUP TO NUTS by Judith Deborah


by Judith Deborah

Publisher: BookBaby

After her best friend gets married, a 28-year-old woman must reevaluate her own life in this novel.          

Romy Belkin and Pia Zimble have been best friends since the ninth grade. After attending the same college, they found an apartment to share in Brooklyn, where they’ve been cohabiting happily ever since. They enjoy their nightly routines together so much that neither one minds her dead-end job, working as what Romy calls “urban menials.” After Romy, who loves to cook, makes shirred eggs, Pia suggests that she do it again for a video. But Romy decides to teach her friend the custom recipe and record her efforts. They eventually post the video starring Pia on YouTube. Before long, they are regularly posting instructional videos where Pia pretends she is the chef and sole mastermind behind the recipes. To their great surprise, Pia begins to develop a following. Romy is happy to remain in the shadows and allow Pia the spotlight, even after they are approached for a cookbook deal. They are earning enough to quit their day jobs, and they’re having a blast. Unfortunately, their fledgling business hits a stumbling block when Pia meets Nicolo Gia and gets engaged in what feels like a hot second. The couple is married before Romy can blink, and she’s suddenly struggling to fill the gaping hole left by Pia’s absence. Romy develops a couple of unlikely friendships and embarks on a string of one-night stands, threatening to self-destruct in grief over the recent distance from her best pal. Full of wonderful sensory details about food and methods of cooking, the narrative voice sizzles with passion and reverence for flavor and spice. Told in the first person by Romy, Deborah’s (Rosalind, 2019, etc.) novel reads at many points like nonfiction, creating the impression that at least a portion of the tale is autobiographical. As the plotline moves further away from food, additional themes begin to take center stage, like self-confidence, romance, and self-determination. The author also sheds light on some of the difficulties inherent in finally growing up, including loneliness and self-doubt. Told in a plot-focused, accessible prose, the story deals artfully with many issues that pop up along the road to personal growth, including heartbreak, jealousy, and disappointment.

An engaging tale about the importance of allowing friendships to evolve.