Author: Andy Raskin
Format: Audio CD
Published: Penguin Audio; 2009
Narrator: Andy Raskin
Genre: Memoir, Biography
Synopsis: Approaching 40 and still single, Raskin decides he needs help to figure out why he is incapable of being faithful in romantic relationships. He joins a self-help group and, guided by his mentor, begins to write a series of letters exploring his past failures. The man he chooses to address the letters to is Momofuku Ando, the creator of instant ramen noodles, who built an extremely successful empire after losing everything. Raskin’s personal journey takes him to Japan several times, as he tries to cut through endless red tape in order to meet his idol. Along the way, Raskin’s passion for Japanese food takes him to exclusive sushi restaurants with forbidding owners and a ramen restaurant that is known for the perilous nature of its cuisine. Raskin finds his answer in Ando’s philosophy and realizes that in order to quell his demons he is going to have to face them and reassess how he looks at his life. Mixing humor and raw honesty, Raskin’s introspective journey is inspiring and entertaining.
My Take: On a recent long road trip I decided my boyfriend and I needed something else to listen to besides music. However, this could be difficult because we have vastly different tastes in books. For starters I read them and he doesn't (I kid, I kid!). No seriously, when he does they are non-fiction. Being of a scientific/engineering type brain he ascertains that there is no point in reading if he can't learn something. Whereas I say there is no point in reading if I can't escape reality for a little while. So there's the issue. At any rate, I wanted an audiobook to pass the time. I knew there had to be something out there for us. I searched the library's audiobook selection, figuring if one of us didn't like it, at least it would be free. I found the above. It was non-fiction, check. It had a male narrator, check. The author was in our age group, check. The author was into something kind of unusual, check. Let's give it a go!
Well what do you know? We both found this book totally interesting and entertaining! Andy Raskin is a troubled soul searching for love. He is nearing 40 and up until now, pretty much every woman he has dated he has cheated on, like a lot. Whoops! He decides that it's time to fix this. He wants to get married and have children. All of his friends are capable of it. He realizes that there must be some sort of defect in himself that he can't commit, yet he doesn't know how to fix it within himself. So we go on a journey with him to fix his issues. This might sound like it would be kind of boring and whiny but it's not because meanwhile ...
He is also really into Japenese culture so there's that. Andy is obsessed with Momofuku Ando. Never heard of him? Either had we but now we know everything about him thanks to Raskin's narration. Ando is the inventor of instant noodles. Yep Nisson products. Top Raman, Cup Noodles, etc. Remember college? He fed you. Ando's life was pretty intense and he lived until he was like 95 so he only died a few years ago. Being incredibly rich and famous and Japenese he is revered in Japan and apparently has a lot of books and famous sayings about how you should be one with the noodle and get your life in line.
So Raskin studies Ando to do just that. He writes letters to Ando and they are funny. He tries to meet Ando. Raskin lives in San Francisco so he has learned Japenese and eats at famous sushi places and studies Japenese culture and everyone knows that he obsessed with Ando. His life takes many twists and turns and through it all, he had my boyfriend and I smiling (and learning!) on our long car-ride so the book was a success! You'll have to read it for yourself to see if Ando heals Raskin's lovelife (and gets to finally meet him!).
Cover Lust: Totally fitting and hysterical! 'Nuff said!