Rated Reads

Blue Plate Special

by Kate Christensen

Rated: High

I’m going to spare you this review and tell you what I think straight up: this book is not what I thought it was going to be. It says on the cover it is “An Autobiography of My Appetites.” Which made me think: “Food book!” And even though Kate Christensen throws in a recipe every once in a while (though honestly: BEAN BURRITOS???? HOW LAZY!), this has none of the hallmarks of what I’ve come to expect in a good food book: luxurious, descriptive, evocative passages about food and the eating experience.

What Blue Plate Special is, however, is a very long, very involved, very sordid, very blunt telling of Christensen’s very messed-up life. It’s the epitome of tell-all: she TELLS it ALL, from her father’s abuse of her mother to her very horrid first marriage. I read the whole thing, though I often wondered why I was still reading. I wondered what the point was, because even though Christensen led an adventurous life, the book version of it is anything but interesting. I don’t know what her purpose was: to make us feel sorry that she never appreciated anything? To purge all her secrets so she can make a fresh start? Whatever it was, all I got was annoyed that she was going amazing places and not Taking Advantage of the Opportunities. Annoyed she spent her 30s drunk and unhappy. Annoyed I picked up this stupid book in the first place.

Christensen’s writing isn’t even lyrical, or evocative. It is boring down on the sentence level. Which makes me wonder about her novels, which I’ve never read. But then again, a person may be able to write a novel but not manage to be evocative about a picnic in Italy.

Not worth the time.

Rated: High for language, including multiple f-bombs, and off-screen sex. Plus drinking and drug use, mostly by adults.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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  • Blue Plate Special
  • by Kate Christensen
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: