July 13, 2013
Blue Plate Special by Kate Christensen
I went from really loving this book, to barely liking it, back to loving it again, with no particular order to my moods or thoughts on it. And I think it kind of reflected the writing within. A lot of emotions all swirled together and laced with a bit of melancholy. But then, memoirs are rarely beacons of happiness so I shouldn't be surprised.
Kate Christensen group up in a family full of hippies. Pot smoking, naked parties, granola, you name it, it was there. But she remembers most of it with happiness, not counting her volatile abusive father. Her true happy memories are those of her mother, who did her best to be kind to her children. Because of the unconventional lifestyle though, her adulthood is rife with difficulties and a sense of wandering. Absorbed in food, alcohol, sex and other fleeting pleasures, she can't seem to grasp what she wants, but has a moderately good time figuring it out.
I like Kate, she's not shy about listing out her faults and her good points and readily admits her mistakes. She's brash and loud and unapologetic about it. And she admits that she wished for a lot of things to be different, which I think we all do. For the beginning of the book she makes her mother seem perfect and while I'm sure she's a good lady, I somehow doubt she was as perfect as Kate made her out to be. But towards the end of the book she finds more fault with her mom and it seems more realistic. Nobody is perfect. And her dad, well, it sounds as it if it was a good thing he wasn't around very much. Her sisters we hear more about in the beginning than throughout the rest of the book and it sounds as if they had pretty interesting lives as well. It would have been nice to hear more about them.
Kate led an interesting life, that's for sure. She did more in her first twenty-seven years of life than I did and I have to admit I'm a bit jealous. Sure, she had a lot of bad thrown in there too, but she lived. But it took her awhile to settle down too and I'm not so sure that's a good thing. Her writing has a nice flowery, but not too detailed feel to it. And her descriptions of food were absolutely wonderful. They were my favorite part of the book. Every time I felt myself feeling a little fed up at her alcohol binges, her descriptions of meals always drew me right back in again.
An interesting memoir, and not as food centered as I thought it would be, but still an engrossing read. If you're a memoir reader, this is a good one to pick up.
Blue Plate Special