by Kate Kerrigan
I repeatedly scoffed at this book on the library's paperback shelves and refused to put it out. The title alone made me want to gag. But after weeks of seeing it stick out, I decided to pick it up.
I am a sucker for books involving food. I love them. Books with recipes, about food writers/bloggers/critics/recipe testers/home cooks, I can't get enough. Food adds another emotional level to a story. Whether it's the frustration of seeing a recipe fail, the need to distract yourself from bigger problems by baking, or trying to make up for something with a three course meal. It makes a story more personal and brings so much more to the plot.
This book is about the intersection of two woman's lives, Bernadine and her granddaughter Tressa, decades and worlds apart. It's the recipes and the struggles with marriage that bring them together.
"Recipes for a Perfect Marriage," despite the off-putting title, is a good book. It's an easy read with a lot happening in both Bernadine's and Tressa's lives, plenty of scandal, hardship, and, of course, learning how to be married. I especially like Tressa's silent battles with her seemingly cold mother-in-law. Bernadine is a little harder to like because she frequently wished her husband dead, but you warm up to her, as she does to her husband. Although, I personally dislike the undertones of Tressa's revelation that her marriage is saving her from her hedonistic single lifestyle surrounded by pervy men and self-absorbed women. I also dislike the notion of Bernadine's having a baby to see her life fulfilled and keep her marriage together. But, ignoring those twisted morality tales there is a lot to like about this book. Sure, go ahead and tell me I can't fully appreciate it because I don't know what it's like to be married, and maybe that is partially true, but nonetheless I enjoyed this book and I think it's worth reading (even if you aren't married).