The Recipe Club:A Tale of Food and Friendship was sent to me by the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. It actually took about ten months to get me; I had actually given up hope of ever receiving it! This is another book in my least favorite genre-the epistolary novel.This always seems to me the lazy way for co-authors to write. I can imagine the authors saying-you be one character, I’ll be another, and let’s write pretend letters to each other and call it a novel. Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel are talented, accomplished women, but novelists? No!
This novel is so flawed in it’s details that I was too distracted to get into the story. The story spans the years from 1963-2003. The letters between the characters, Lilly and Val, are interspersed with recipes they sent to one another. They even credit a consultant in developing these recipes. Well-I really don’t think that capers and cilantro were in every supermarket in 1964, or that canola oil was so readily available in 1965(it was all about the corn oil in those days). And EVOO in 1969-not likely.!
The inaccuracies continue in the current events mentioned in this novel. For starters, no one saw Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway in May 1964, since it opened in September! And one of the characters has an illegal abortion in New York in 1972. Actually, abortion became legal in New York State in 1970. And purple bell-bottoms? Not in 1964. The inaccuracies are endless.
The story itself concerns two girls who are close friends but, due to a misunderstanding, don’t speak for 20 years, and then reconnect after the death of a parent. Not exactly ground breaking. My first thought about the girls is that they didn’t seem all that likely to be friends anyway, and the relationship was destined to fade away as many childhood friendships do. So who cares? Not me!
Published in hardcover-HarperCollins-2009
Softcover edition-Harper Paperbacks-2010