Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Cookbook Collector

Title: The Cookbook Collector
By: Allegra Goodman

I do not think it is possible for me to describe how much I loathe this book, but I will try.

I was told this book was about two sisters and how their relationship evolves. Having several sisters myself, I thought I would be able to relate. Plus, several reviewers had said that Allegra Goodman was the new Jane Austen, so how could I go wrong?

Well, how could this book go so wrong? Or, what was right with this book? Nothing was right- it was all wrong.

Jane Austen would be appalled to find herself compared to Ms. Goodman. Ms. Austen's books told stories of love, patience, understanding, sacrifice. Goodman's book was the exact opposite- nothing but lust, greed, and selfishness.

It is the story of several characters and their experiences of the dotcom bust of the early 2000's. It goes through their rise and fall- from nothing to absolute wealth to nothing again. Several characters emerge- far too many to keep track of. All the characters sleep around with so called boyfriends or girlfriends, who then cheat on them, and then go on to their next romance based on lust and- not surprisingly- doomed for failure.  One boyfriend betrays his fiancee's trust and confidence in order to obtain wealth and prestige for himself. Nice. Another character gets engaged to a man who doesn't even want his friends to meet her because she is half his age and not his type. He insists that he loves her, even though every time they are together all they do is have sex. I am sure that relationship will work out in the end.

Not only could I not relate to any of the characters, I had absolutely no desire to relate to any of them. I thought they were all disgusting people and in real life I do everything in my power to avoid people like them.

If this was a movie, it would be rated R. Based on the reviews, I gave a copy of this book to my mother-in-law for Christmas. I have had to apologize, and I am incredibly embarrassed that I gave her such a horrible book. Cuss words abound, and there is not one redeeming quality I can think of to describe this book.

I will give this book 1.5 stars. The ONLY reason it is getting that extra half star is because there is a Jodi Picoult book that I hate even more, and that book deserves the lowest rating of all.