Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bread & Chocolate - Philippa Gregory

Summary: A TV chef who specializes in outrageous cakes tempts a monk who bakes bread for his brothers; a surprise visitor invites mayhem into the perfect minimalist flat in the season of good will; a woman explains her unique view of straying husbands; straying husbands encounter a variety of inventive responses. These are just some of the treats on offer in this sumptuous box of delights.

My review: I don't often indulge in books of short stories, though I'm not sure why. I really enjoy reading them. Perhaps it's the unpredictability (or the predictable chaos) of parenting, but short stories are probably best suited for the life of a stay-at-home mother since they can be read--beginning to end--in one sitting. While the odds of us having more than five minutes to ourselves are fairly slim, time-outs can be great opportunities to sneak in a quick story. Thankfully we have a LOT of time-outs at our house.

For me, this book was like a white elephant gift exchange. The back of the book told me very little, so each story was like unwrapping a present--I didn't know what I was going to get. Granted some of them were vacuum cleaners--something that I appreciate but don't really intend to use very much. Others were comfy booties that you love to just sink into. My favorites stories, however, were the ones that I can't find an adequate analogy for--because I would be reading along wondering if I was even going to like the story and then BAM, the author would tweak the ending and give me something I wasn't at all expecting. I found myself grinning (sometimes inappropriately) at how the author chose to end the story. She blindsided me quite a few times. On the whole, I found her stories to be a enjoyable mix of the creepy, mysterious, lovely, romantic, bizarre, vengeful, and surprising.

That having been said, I'm fairly certain I won' t read it again and I don't intend to keep it on my shelf. Knowing the surprise endings will just suck all the fun out of it. I'll probably sell it to Encore Books or give it to someone who might like to read it.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars. A good one time read. Some adult situations in some of the stories.

Sum this book up in one phrase: Unexpectedly enjoyable


Kim R. said...

Ok, so I am reading a Gregory as well, the one you reviewed here looks a little different than her normal style.... Is that true?

MindySue said...

Couldn't tell you! This is the first Gregory book that I've read. I do believe that the ones you are reading are historical fiction though and so they probably can't have as much of a surprise factor as this one. Let me know if that's true.

Heather said...

Hey if you haven't already taken this to Encore Books I'd love to borrow it first. It sounds like something I would enjoy, though I am not a huge fan of short stories.

MindySue said...

sure, remind me tonight!


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