Saturday, January 25, 2014
Table Hopping (Book Review: A Place At The Table, Susan Rebecca White)
"A Place At The Table," by Susan Rebecca White held such high hopes for me - a story about three people living in New York City, set in the late 80s and early 90s, a point in time I am very familiar with. And the book is written with grace and poetic elegance, that you read and savour each word. But maybe the high expectations ruined really enjoying it for me. After around the 60% mark, the book lost its fizzle for me, and never recovered. I loved reading about Bobby, a boy growing up gay first in Decatur Georgia, and I love how he became that wounded Southern boy to a celebrated chef in late 80s New York City. I loved his chemistry with the chef Alice, whose chef kitchen he took over years later. I thought I had exhausted all the AIDS related fiction of the 80s, so it startled me to find this book cover that sad period again. But then almost too late into a book, White introduces the third character, Amelia. I know her character is integral to the surprise plot twist at the end of the book, but I felt like this character was being pushed in my face after I have already loved the two main characters. And yes, like a lot of people have brought up about the book, the ending feels sudden. I would have loved to have known how Bobby's relationship with his parents evolved, for example. Still, there's a lot to love int he book - these are richly-drawn characters. I wonder if there is a longer unedited version of this book somewhere. I bet there is and it's better.