RaveThe New York TimesA novel that hits close to a few recent news events...When the unnamed narrator gets a gig as an assistant at a prominent movie studio thanks to a crumb of nepotism (her mother is a prominent victims’ rights attorney), she has to prove herself despite the red carpet of privilege rolled out before her...As the title suggests, at the studio she meets a few sleazy men — including a boss with a button in his office that locks the door — who ruin everything for everyone, as sleazy men are wont to do...The story delves where news stories about sexual harassment don’t, into the dark truth that a victim might be better off signing the NDA and taking the hefty cash settlement than standing up as a symbolic martyr, stained by publicity and likely to lose her case...NSFW makes your brain spin on the #MeToo merry-go-round that’s come derailed from the base and spontaneously set on fire.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewBerliner’s very literal and Yiddish-inflected synopses of porn as perceived by Raizl are hilarious and endearing ... a dirty book with a pure heart, though the story was wrapped up before I was ready to leave Raizl’s wonderfully horny head. Let her laptop burn forever into the night.
MixedThe New York Time Book ReviewEach chapter begins with a cocktail history spiel, which clunks up the narrative like a few too many scoops of pebbled ice. Most cocktail back stories turn out to be cases of he-said — mostly he-said — whose biggest takeaway is that bartending is the art of chemistry as much as it is of flavorful storytelling ... What I craved from the book was a stiffer pour. Straton was once a bartender herself, and perhaps the book’s realism could’ve used a few extra dashes of bitter, bright or unexpected flourish. The ingredient that makes you sip and ask, \'Hmm, what’s in this?\' It’s probably Cynar ... As Sam binge-drinks with her colleagues and finds her new family, you can sense that neither Harvard nor the hospitality industry will be her end-all-be-all. Perhaps the bartender’s ultimate cure is getting out of the slim profit margin game entirely, and maybe, instead, writing a book about it.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... darkly funny ... \'Deeply researched\' doesn’t begin to describe how far into ancient texts and their subtexts, obscure cookbooks and corners of the internet Lebo excavated to tell us the stories of these fruits. What she digs up for each is often fascinating, sometimes juicy, rarely dry ... Along the way, we get morsels of memoir like carefully plucked trail berries. These glimpses reveal...the kind of truths you can’t find in a library ... brimming with obscure knowledge that’s going to loom over every gin martini I drink for the next decade, and there are fantastic recipes too ... These recipes include some of the book’s funniest moments ... This is where the fruit we used as a stand-in for depression, motherhood or a bad ex is transformed back into its original, edible self. The ingredients, like words, get thoughtfully measured and weighed and mixed into something delicious and meaningful. Or maybe it’s just a pie.
Chelsea G. Summers
RaveBon AppétitIt was the \'semeny chowder\' that did it for me. That was the moment I realized Chelsea G. Summers’ new novel, A Certain Hunger, went to the place we, Bon Appétit, and I, writer lady, never go. A place where sex and food entwine so grossly and explicitly that it makes you laugh, scream, and need a drink as stiff as this innuendo. This book is crazy. You have to read it ... Summers does a pitch-perfect impression of the highfalutin restaurant critic amped up on expensed rib eye and good Barolo, intoxicated by adjectives ... It’s American Psycho meets Ruth Reichl’s Save Me the Plums. Summers’ knife is twisted in Bret Easton Ellis’s book spine ... A Certain Hunger will have you thinking about the taste of human flesh deglazed in red wine, which feels like a nearly illegal sentence to write. Go to the dark place and let it rattle you.