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Hungry for a Better Book   Leave a comment

Feeding Christine by Barbara Chepaitis has most of the themes I enjoy
in a novel: friendship, food, mystery and personal growth. Unfortunately,
the plot and creativity, two fundamental elements for a truly engaging work,
lack flavor.

The book centers around four women who gather to prepare for the annual
holiday party hosted by their catering company. A fifth woman, Nan the
deceased sister of Teresa, is also a prominent character. And, Nan is the
mother of the title character. Rather than hold the party at their shop,
Teresa insists on having it in her home. The story takes place over three
days, but retells memories that span years.

Three of the women spend much of the time cooking in Teresa’s kitchen.
Meanwhile, the fourth is tied up in the basement – and everyone knows
it. I am not making this up. It’s difficult to know if Chepaitis’s intent
was to create a dark comedy, or if that was a consequence of the weak
storyline. Occasional references are made to the “hostage” but each
woman goes about her business. Trips are made to the grocery store,
delicious sounding ginger trout is prepared, love is a topic of conversa-
tion, and all the while someone they care about is secured in the cold,
dark basement. It’s almost comical.

The lone strength of the novel lies in the description of food and its
bond among the women. However, a menu at a nice restaurant could
provide the same thing without the contrived drama.

One Bookmark
Bantam Books, 2000
244 pages

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Posted November 27, 2011 by bluepagespecial in Books

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