MAKE IT MESSY by Marcus Samuelsson


My Perfectly Imperfect Life
Age Range: 12 - 16
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Based on Yes, Chef (2012), a memoir for adults, this young readers’ version offers insights into the life and food of one of America’s top chefs.

During a tuberculosis epidemic in 1972 in Ethiopia, Samuelsson’s mother walked 75 miles with young Marcus on her back to a hospital in Addis Ababa. She died there, but he and his sister survived and were adopted by a Swedish couple. In clear and straightforward prose, less adorned than his recipes, Samuelsson chronicles growing up in Sweden, going to school, playing soccer, and working his way up the hierarchy in various restaurants on his way to becoming a chef. This is not exactly a linear “pursue your dream” story since Samuelsson originally had wanted to be a professional soccer player but was too small. Soccer went off the table, and food took its place. In adapting the adult memoir for young readers, the authors have adopted the motivational tone of a coach before the big game: “Step up to the challenge; don’t avoid it. Win or lose, take the shot.” But many young people have seen Samuelsson on television’s Chopped and will be eager to learn about the journey that got him there.

Now a world-renowned chef, Samuelsson neatly serves up inspiration and food for thought for the many young people interested in cooking. (Memoir. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 9th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-385-74400-3
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2015


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