By Amelia Morris
Available now from Grand Central Publishing (Hachette)
I avoid memoirs as a rule of thumb, but I was intrigued by BON APPETEMPT because it promised cooking misadventures and author Amelia Morris's "ill-fated twenty-something job at the School of Rock in Los Angeles." I think I shall continue avoiding memoirs, because they make me feel like I'm judging someone's life in a bad way.
If you came for the School of Rock story, it lasts about a chapter and can be summed up thusly: Aging musicians rarely show up to work on time, bum money from people, and eventually Morris was fired for someone with the administrative and accounting experience to keep people in line. Fascinating. As for the cooking, Morris doesn't reach that life interest until halfway through the memoir. I can't even imaging that fans of her book-turned-blog Bon Appétempt are that interested in a litany of jobs she worked for a bit in her twenties while she and her boyfriend to find something steady to make ends meet.
It doesn't help that BON APPETEMPT is so very dry. Morris is find at expressing when she's angry at someone, like her mother and grandmother for not immediately supporting her impending marriage. She's less good at other emotions, which lends little vibrancy to the central relationship of the memoir, that of her and her husband. She's led a fairly normal life, which doesn't give the memoir much color, and doesn't have the voice or perspective to make that life compelling.
The recipes are awesome, and their connection to the chapters goes stronger and better integrated as BON APPETEMPT goes on. However, she sometimes doesn't even say if a recipe turned out well. Why describe how you made something if you're not going to include the best part, the delightful food porn of flavors and texture and deliciousness that made this recipe a must have in your life story? Maybe I should just look it up on the blog?
This one if for die-hard fans of Amelia Morris's blog. For everyone else, just check it out from the library and photocopy the recipes that appeal to you. I do like the book trailer (shot and edited by her husband Matt), and it makes me wish I liked the book more: