There was only one birthday that Gus was getting tired of organizing. Tired, really, of celebrating at all. Her own. Because in short order – March 25 – August Adelaide Simpson was turning fifty. -From Comfort Food, page 4-
Gus Simpson is a huge TV personality on the CookingChannel. After the unexpected death of her husband (leaving her alone to raise two daughters), Gus discovers her inner cook and rises quickly to stardom. Her daughters are now in their 20s and struggling with their own issues, while Gus is dreading turning 50 and forced to deal with losing her Cooking With Gusto! show. She re-groups, reluctantly pairing with the beautiful Carmen Vega (an ex-beauty queen with a penchant for spiciness), to birth a new show: Eat Drink and Be.
Jacobs introduces a vast cast of characters including Gus’ two unlikeable daughters, her daughter Sabrina’s ex boyfriend Troy, Gus’ love interest Oliver, and the mysterious Hannah. I disliked them all – finding them flat, predictable and shallow. I also didn’t understand why Jacobs felt it necessary to give us involved descriptions of their hair (maybe because otherwise we couldn’t tell one from the other?).
I received this uncorrected proof from Penguin Book Group. The novel was released earlier this month on the heels of Jacobs’ first novel The Friday Night Knitting Club. I normally appreciate a well-paced chick lit book – but this one was tough to get through. I wanted to like Gus, but I never felt like I knew her. Hannah’s character was better developed, but her mysterious background grew tiresome for me. My least favorite character was Sabrina – a girl who is terrified to commit to a relationship and so she sleeps around and toys with men, using her beauty as a way to waltz through life.
As you can tell, this was not a book I can recommend. Some readers, however, had a different viewpoint. Check out Kit’s review (at Mango and Ginger) and Trish’s review (at Hey Lady! Watcha Readin’?) who both liked this book a lot better than I did. Deb’s review at Here and There seems to agree with mine.
I won’t be recommending this book. But, there are some readers out there who probably will love Jacobs’ latest novel…so if you are heavily into chick lit and food, you might still want to read this one and come to your own conclusions.