Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Molto Bene!

'Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater'
By: Frank Bruni

Format: Audio CD
Published: Penguin Audio; Aug. 2009

Synopsis: More the gourmand than the gourmet, former New York Times food critic Bruni takes us through his love/hate relationship with food and catalogues everyone who ever fed him and what they served, every diet he went on and his fraught—even dangerous—relationship with food in this excellent memoir. Bruni is a talented reader with an intelligent voice, a perfect pace, impish humor and a contagious passion for his topic. Dieters may crumble under the weight of so many lavish descriptions of luscious treats, but Bruni's frank depiction of his eating disorders and his charismatic delivery make for memorable listening. Copyright © Reed Business Information

My Take: This was one of those books that I remember hearing a lot about last year but thinking, yeah I'll read that someday but for some reason not running out and buying it. I don't know why. With a cute, chubby kid on the cover usually I'd be all over it. I love books about food but I kind of let this one go by. When I saw it come up on the limited options of books I could get on audio from my library though I was more than thrilled. It seemed like the stars aligned and man, I realized I should not have put this off. From the moment the first notes of Italian music started twinkling and Frank's voice started describing the foods he grew up with in his Italian American background I knew I could settle in with this gem of a book. 

See the thing is, I love food. I may not be fat, but there is a fat woman screaming to get out. I go to the gym all the time and San Francisco is a hot bed of fantastic restaurants. People spend all day talking about great new restaurants and where they will eat next and what they are going to cook tonight and I am all about it. I loved listening to this book. Hearing Frank's descriptions of the dishes his families would serve him as a child, oh it made my mouth water!

Frank grew up as one of four in White Plains, NY as a member of an incredible loving middle class family in the 1950s and 1960s and he couldn't eat enough! His mother worried about his weight but she also showed her love through food so she didn't really know how to fix his problem. Frank dealt with his weight issues a number of ways, all of which are chronicled in detail in this book, many of which are unhealthy, none of which I found tedious thanks to his humor and candor.

His career as a journalist I found fascinating. He got to travel to many places and cover such exciting topics as the Bush campaign and the Pope in Rome before getting the coveted job as the top food critic for the New York Times. This part of the story, for me, was the most fascinating. Maybe because I always read food reviews, watch Top Chef fanatically (where I even saw him on an episode while listening to this audio and recognized him instantly by voice!) and so the manner in which they go about methodically reviewing restaurants is pretty intense!

At any rate, this book was way more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined and through it all, what shines through more than anything, is that standing behind Frank is the love of his sweet family who are chronicled in this book and I really related to that too and it is so heartwarming to read about. Read (or listen to) this book!

(I got this book from the library)


  1. oooh, that sounds so good...on my list of must reads!

  2. This sounds great! I think it's so cool that you were able to recognize him by the sound of his voice, it must be pretty distinctive :)

  3. I can't say that I will rush out and buy it, but I did enjoy your review :)

  4. I love fiction revolving around food, but I have never read a nonfiction. This sounds interesting, I'll keep it in mind. Love your review, looks like you were meant to read(listen) to it.

  5. I would definitely enjoy this one. I love Top Chef and reading about food!

  6. I have this book on my to-read list but after reading your review of the audio version, I think I will listen instead!


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