I haven’t read much foodie literature, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I just knew that this one had made quite a splash when it first arrived.
Within the first few pages, I decided that Bourdain was coming off as kind of a jerk, and my wife assured me that he’d made his fortune that way. So I got over it.
As I was reading it, something felt strangely empty about the reading experience. There were interesting bits and pieces and some surprising ones, but I wasn’t engaged by the whole.
I think the book has a kind of identity crisis. Is it meant to be an expose? A book of advice? A memoir? There’s so much going on here that there’s little time for depth. And there’s one other problem.
Bourdain can’t write.
So much energy is put into creating his voice, his persona, that little effort is put into, for example, the kind of details that could have brought this book to life. How can such a chef not describe food well? Instead, he often resorts to lists.
So, it’s interesting, too long, and going right into the re-sale pile.