Book Review: Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs

A while back Penguin Books emailed me asking if I would like to review a book. I like to read books and I said "Sure - send it!"

The premise behind Comfort Food is that "Gus" Simpson, an aging star of a cable food network, hits a big hiccup in her life and career - her ratings are slipping, her two daughters are in the midst of turmoil - and to make matters worse, the network has saddled her with a younger, glamorous co-host who is constantly trying to upstage her. Sounds like a pretty good premise right? I thought so too when I cracked the cover.

After spending two days reading this book, I felt as though I was never going to be done soon enough. The problem was that poor execution really kept this book from reaching its potential. The first half of the book is more of an expose on all the characters - even minor ones - that went on and on. Did I really need to know that much about the contest winner that was introduced about halfway through the book? And what real purpose did she even serve? The character really didn't further the plot and kind left me feeling as if I had been cheated in the way she was kind of swept under the rug after the big build up.

The whole thing smacked of soap opera at its cheesiest. What was the next big drama?! The daughter who has been engaged 5 thousand times is engaged again - and it might stick this time! Gasp! Wait wait - Gus's best friend has a terrible secret from her past that caused her to become a recluse and it's about to be revealed!! Double Gasp! The whole crew is sent to a "bonding weekend" - watch the fur fly!!! Triple Gasp!! Ummmmm...not really...

So what was it that I wanted? More, that's what I wanted. If you are going to go for the soap opera approach - let's just go over the top. The co-host should have been a uber-bitch who would stop at nothing. Gus should have had some personal earth shattering event - like her uterus falling out during the taping of her new show. Yes, I wanted pure unadulterated over-the-top melodrama. As it was, what happened to the characters was just plain dull - and the wrap up even duller.

Once the "introductions" were over the book was pleasant enough. Just think "Chick Flick" and you would be dead on. If you can get past the bad plotting, the two dimensional characters, slow pacing of the book, and the "everybody is happy" ending, then this book is for you. God help ya if you can't find anything else better to read. I've got an extra copy of Valley of the Dolls if you want some dirt for your summer reading list.

Yeah yeah yeah you say - so what did you expect? I should have known better I tell ya! You always pay for the things you get for free!

1 comment:

ChefSara said...

To be honest, I'm not at all surprised by your review...I read her "Friday Night Knitting Club" and had the same reaction. Too much confusion of minute detail with actual plot or character development. So you end up with a cast of characters that you really know nothing about (except that one shops at Ikea and has curly hair...details mentioned several times), and no really depth of plot or really, why the characters matter.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who expects more from books though. Thanks for the review ;-)