Embracing The Imperfectionists: What Does Your Food Say About You?

Rating:  Orange

I managed to read a lot when I was in Paris.

Yeah, I know.  I’m in Paris!  Why am I spending time there reading a book that I could read in my own apartment?

Well, it turns out that reading is a great pastime in Paris.  People read at cafes, on the metro, waiting in the hour-long lines at the bank.

Fortunately for me, I packed a hand-dandy purse that I absolutely adore because it has a compartment that perfectly holds a normal-sized book.

My book of choice was The Imperfectionistsby Tom Rachman.  I picked it up because the title intrigued me and a great many important people seemed to think that it was brilliant.  When I found out that it was a story told in short vignettes, I was sold.  Like Olive Kitteridge (see my post here), it is a story long enough to satisfy my need for detail, but told in increments short enough to satisfy my hectic lifestyle and distracted mind.

Basically, The Imperfectionists centers on the people who create and work at an international, English-speaking newspaper based in Rome.

Each major player has a story devoted to his/her work, family life, and ultimately, flaws.  These are the people of the journalism world who seem to be completely put-together, but whose lives are not as perfect as they seem.

This is by no means a depressing book, so much as an insightful text about the intricacies of life.

One major way that Rachman characterizes each figure is through the food that they consume throughout the story.  In almost every vignette, food acts as a gateways for the reader to better understand the character’s psyche.

One woman makes copious amounts of rich food to serve to her boyfriend and friends. but never eats it herself.  Instead, she limits herself to hot water and lettuce.

A journalist whose career is on the decline spoons chickpeas out of a can because that is all he can afford.

A writer of obituaries focuses on peanut butter sandwiches to deal with a significant loss.

While this book is more about journalism and the people who are a part of it, the food element is a striking way for us to relate to the characters.  I found myself wondering, “What does my food say about me?”

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Five Reasons Why I Love Olive Kitteridge

Rating: Chocolate Cake

And these are the top 5 reasons.  There are many more that I won’t get into here.  You need to read the book to fully understand.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me explain who Olive Kitteridge is.  She is the central character in Elizabeth Strout’s collection of 13 short stories, appropriately entitled Olive Kitteridge.  Many of the stories do not touch on Olive specifically, but on other people who live nearby or who are in some way affected by her.  One or two of the stories come from Olive’s perspective, allowing us to see even more deeply into her character.  This writing style allows us to see enough of the intricacies of Olive’s character to imagine that many quirks remain a mystery to us, as she is an emotionally complex character.

So, here is my list.

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