Quickie Review of The Sharper the Knife, The Less You Cry

For many reasons August has been just a hard month to read and write about books. I’m finally getting back into it this week , slowly. And I’m behind on so many things.  I’m behind on the 2016 Read Harder Book Challenge and #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks, and I’ve only written two book reviews so far this month. So today I though I’d a a quickie review of a book that is a part of both of the challenges.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School in Paris

Kathleen Flinn was a thirty-six-year-old middle manager trapped on the corporate ladder – until her boss eliminated her job. Instead of sulking, she took the opportunity to check out of the rat race for good – cashing in her savings, moving to Paris, and landing a spot at the venerable Le Cordon Blue cooking school.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the funny and inspiring account of her struggle in a stew of hot-tempered, chefs, competitive classmates, her own “wretchedly inadequate” French – and how she mastered the basics of French cuisine. Filled with rich, sensual details of her time in the kitchen – the ingredients, cooking techniques, wine, and more than two dozen recipes – and the vibrant sights and sounds of the markets, shops, and avenues of Paris, it is also a journey of self-discovery, transformation, and, ultimately, love.

I like this book, but I do not love this book. It’s one of those memoirs in which upper middle class woman looses job and goes to exotic location to find self (Think Eat, Pray, Love. Oh, and Elizabeth Gilbert has a blurb on the cover, so you know who the audience is for this book.) I don’t have a fight with this genre, but there is something so off-putting about this genre for me. I only got through the eating portion of Eat, Pray, Love because of the gorgeous descriptions of Italy and food. Which leads me to The Sharper the Knife. The recipes and descriptions of classes at the Cordon Bleu are what I like best about this book. The chef’s and students along with the rivalries are what kept me coming back to this book. And the recipes! The recipes seem like something I can follow successfully.

What I did not love about this book. The trials and tribulations of finding the perfect apartment in the center of Paris. The sadness of living out with the poor folk out on the eastern edge of Paris. The struggles of getting to school on the metro, and the uncomfortable feeling of struggling back to the apartment through the children of the neighborhood begging for money. And she did have a serious issue with her new husband towards the end of the book, but all the other tone deaf “trials”earlier in the book make it hard to feel too sorry or sympathetic for her.

Now, that being said, its not a bad story. I will recommend it to anyone who is interested in what it’s like to attend the Cordon Bleu in Paris. But if you are looking for inspiration…..No. Read something else. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.

What do you think? Would you read this book? Do you like memoirs? Do you like novels that include recipes? If you do, let me know in the comments!


4 thoughts on “Quickie Review of The Sharper the Knife, The Less You Cry

  1. I feel you about finding time to read and write about books in August. I am rooting for us both in September!

    I appreciate this review. The Goodreads synopsis definitely sounds intriguing for the cooking school aspect, but I would have a hard time with the rest too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. August has been an odd month for me, blogging wise. I feel like I’m coming out of my funk though – I hope September is a good month for us both!

    I liked but did not love this book too. It’s been a while since i read it but it wasn’t among my favorite “random person moves to France” books.

    Liked by 1 person

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