3 stars

Week 5: Tepper Isn’t Going Out – Calvin Trillin

Within just the first few pages of reading TEPPER ISN’T GOING OUT, I knew I was in for a pleasant ride (or perhaps I should say stay). Calvin Trillin’s slim story is a humorous tale of one Maury Tepper and his quest to find a perfectly good “legal spot” and park his Chevy Malibu to enjoy a read of the New York Post. His simple act to steal some quiet time puts the city in an absolute tailspin. Consipiracy theories abound as to why a middle-aged man would take to reading in his car versus an easy chair.

The behavior befuddles his wife Ruth and their daughter Linda. His business partner and friends are certain something must be wrong. And rather funny things start to happen when strangers begin to notice the man in the parked car. Of course he gets his share of “Ya bastard, ya! That’s a perfectly good spot!”–it’s New York. But Tepper also gains a following of strong supporters, which he’ll need when his story hits the desk of the city’s tyrannical mayor and even makes the very newspaper he parks to read.

What the plot lacks in depth, it more than makes up in great humor and solid writing. It’s just a perfect read for a perfect day when you have found yourself the perfect spot to park yourself–wherever that may be.

Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 213
Genre: Fiction

Week 2: Tender at the Bone – Ruth Reichl

TENDER AT THE BONE has been in my library for a number of years now. So many that I have lost count. I have obviously wanted to read it, or I wouldn’t have purchased it way back when. Unfortunately, when I finished the book, I wanted to have liked it more.

Reichl recounts the story of her youth, life with a manic depressive mother and a goes-along-with-everything father, and how she came to love the culinary and written arts. Her mother plays a prominent role in her young life, exposing her to some of the worst food she’s ever eaten (or that anyone has for that matter – reference the hospitalizations of more than 25 people after her mother hosted an engagement party for Reichl’s brother). The matriarch of the family is pushy, singularly focused on herself and pays her daughter he greatest favor when she sends her off to boarding school. It’s in Quebec that she meets young Beatriz and her wealthy french family. Each night, dinner is prepared by exquisitely trained French chefs, and so does Ruth’s romance with food begin.

Reichl’s tone is spot on, capturing moments of hilarity, shock and sadness. I just found, at times, that I was a little bored. I also think that I had a different picture of what I thought the book would be about and what time frame it would cover, and it was far different than my expectations. It didn’t help that this week did not afford me as much reading time as I had hoped, and this felt a bit more like an assignment than leisurely reading. We are only in week two. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this is just a reflection of this week and not a sign of the year ahead.

When all is said and done, I did enjoy it. There are certain friends of mine to whom I would recommend it. It just didn’t leave me with the feelings I had ultimately hoped it would.

Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 282
Genre: Memoir