January 9, 2018
A Place at the Table
A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White
Finished on February 7, 2017
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
A rich, beautiful novel about three unlikely, complex characters who meet in a chic Manhattan café and realize they must sacrifice everything they ever knew or cared about to find authenticity, fulfillment, and love.
A Place at the Table tells the story of three richly nuanced characters whose paths converge in a chic Manhattan café: Bobby, a gay Southern boy who has been ostracized by his family; Amelia, a wealthy Connecticut woman whose life is upended when a family secret finally comes to light; and Alice, an African-American chef whose heritage is the basis of a famous cookbook but whose past is a mystery to those who know her.
As it sweeps from a freed-slave settlement in 1920s North Carolina to the Manhattan of the deadly AIDs epidemic of the 1980s to today’s wealthy suburbs, A Place at the Table celebrates the healing power of food and the magic of New York as three seekers come together in the understanding that when you embrace the thing that makes you different, you become whole.
Eager to a read a foodie-type story, I pulled a dusty ARC of A Place at the Table from the shelf, glanced at the cover and dove in cold without bothering to read the publisher's blurb. I wasn't disappointed. Told in three narrative voices (yet not in alternating chapters), A Place at the Table moves from one character's story to the next, which had me wondering if (and when) they would ever cross paths. In spite of the lack of marked passages, I thought this was a very good read, although now that almost a year has passed, I have only a vague recollection of the book. The story was entertaining and the writing impressive enough for me to give it a 4/5 star rating last February, but sadly not memorable.