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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life » User review

Fast, easy, entertaining, and satisfying. (With no MSG.)

  • Jun 26, 2009
If I were to go back and study my Amazon reviews, I bet I'd find that I've given most of the things I've reviewed 4 or 5 stars, with a moderate number of 3s making up the bulk of the rest. Maybe I should be a tougher reviewer, hold things to a higher standard, and then write more about how the author or artist failed to live up to this standard. I should do this, I think, starting with "The Ramen King and I."

The problem is, there really wasn't very much about this book I didn't like. It's not great literature, perhaps, but it is a pretty entertaining story, well written, often funny, and quite open in author's Andy Raskin's portrait of himself and his somewhat busted emotional and romantic life. The flow of the story is relatively complex, in that elements of his narrative seem quite unconnected to one another ... until, that is, Raskin starts to pull them together toward the end. Then you can look back (or at least I did) and admit he set it all up very well.

"The Ramen King and I" is a pretty lightweight memoir compared to, say, My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar, which I read and reviewed not long ago. But (time for the inevitable food metaphor) like ramen itself, "The Ramen King and I" was fast, easy, admittedly a little silly sometimes, and pretty darn satisfying. Maybe I'll start being tougher with the next book. For what it is, this title didn't leave a lot to complain about.

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Andrew S. Rogers ()
Ranked #364
Mostly, I'm a moderately prolific Amazon.com reviewer who's giving Lunch a try as another venue for my reviews.
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About this book


This funny and idiosyncratic Japanese-fast-food memoir and quasi-spiritual autobiography from NPR commentator Raskin contains at its core, despite its oddball title, a deeply human story. The author grew up on Long Island and attended Wharton business school after college, which led to an internship in Japan and a life-long connection with the country. Over the years, Raskin also got involved with a number of women, without maintaining fidelity or forming a permanent attachment. Relocation to the West Coast and numerous Internet hookups eventually led to therapy and a fellowship, where he began to accept his sexual compulsivity and met the mentor who recommended finding some form of Higher Power. Raskin's unorthodox choice of Momofuku Ando, the nonagenarian inventor of instant ramen and Nissin Food Products chairman, led to several futile attempts to contact and meet him. The result is a painfully humane and hilariously candid journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. At first, the book's intentions aren't explicit, the structure is near confusing, and the narrator's crisis feels shallow. But the various strands eventually weave together into a satisfying whole that becomes a quirky, unique memoir.(June)
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ISBN-10: 1592404448
ISBN-13: 978-1592404445
Author: Andy Raskin
Publisher: Gotham

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