I am fascinated with unique life paths. And I’m also kind of a closet reality cooking show junky. How could I resist the chance at a complimentary advanced reader copy of How to Eat a Small Country by Amy Finley?
Amy hits the big time in cooking ... reality television style. But with the fame, and the responsibilities that go with the fame, her marriage teeters and threatens to fall apart. So she quits her blossoming career, moves her family to France and begins to work at the marriage. This memoir is kind of a grown up girl’s version of a fairy tale. A wicked “witch” thwarts the knight in shining armor, the damsel-who-can-darn-well-take-care-of-herself saves him kind of a tale. Amy Finley writes as well as she cooks. There are absolutely beautiful passages within this book. She also knows French cooking to the point that I was at times horrified when the two skills converged. I didn’t really want to know why the sausage smelled like it did and how it got it’s name. But the writing made it a must read anecdote and it certainly will stick with me. The French language is peppered throughout and with my four years of high school French I found myself only understanding through the context fairly often. I also struggled with some of Amy’s struggles. Some of her transparency was not at all flattering. I would cringe, then admire the honesty, only to cringe again at the things she shared.
Bottom line if you love memoirs, cooking, French cooking and anything about the French countryside, you may want to pick this up and give it a read. I hope the best for Amy. Her choice was heroic. In a society where broken families are a sad consequence of success it is inspiring to see someone value family over money and fame.
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