May 22, 2018

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler


“Taste, Chef said, is all about balance. The sour, the salty, the sweet, the bitter. Now your tongue is coded. A certain connoisseurship of taste, a mark of how you deal with the world, is the ability to relish the bitter, to crave it even, the way you do the sweet.” 

Stephanie DanlerSweetbitter



Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
With all the hype surrounding the show Sweetbitter on STARZ, I knew I had to pick up the book and see what it was all about before even trying an episode. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler is a coming-of-age story about Tess, a 22-year-old girl who moves to New York City on a whim and finds herself wrapped up in the restaurant world. 

After a haphazard interview, Tess is invited to train at one of the city's best restaurants, and here she learns about the inner workings of the restaurant business and the secrets of its employees. She becomes enamored with her coworker Jake, and develops a reverent but fearful attitude toward another coworker, Simone. But Simone and Jake have an odd relationship, and Tess can't figure it out. Day by day she gets in deeper with the drugs and alcohol that come with the job. Despite being warned about Jake, Tess takes her chances and learns more about herself in the process than she ever thought possible.

I absolutely adored this story. It's very atmospheric and character driven, and not much happens outside of Tess getting to know her coworkers and learning more about her job. I identified so much with Tess...naive and willing to learn, but stronger and smarter than everyone thinks she is. I thought Simone was a fantastic character, and her cynicism just dripped off the pages. I was not a huge fan of Jake but he was definitely a necessary aspect of this story. Danler's writing flows and dances across the page, taking you with it and smothering you in Tess's new world.

The reviews on Goodreads are pretty harsh for this read, but if something draws me in by the synopsis I usually give it a shot no matter what the reviews say. In this case, I'm definitely glad I did. This book is best for those who love character-driven, coming-of-age stories, so if you're looking for an action-packed read this is probably not for you. I read this book lazily, as I liked being wrapped up inside the walls of the restaurant with it's workers. True to it's subject matter, reading this book was like enjoying a good glass of wine...wanting to drink it all but forcing yourself to savor it and consume it slowly because you want to fully appreciate it and don't want it to end.

I've only watched one episode of the Sweetbitter show so far, but I'm enjoying it, and will definitely have to do a comparison review once it's done. 

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

14 comments:

fizah saeed said...

Great Review :)

Jo Linsdell said...

Great review. Glad you didn't get swayed by the other reviews for it. Sometimes taking a chance can be good.

Sinfully Wicked said...

Great review. I always take negative reviews with a grain of salt. If the synopsis sounds like something I would be interested in, then I would for sure pick up the book regardless of reviews.

Terrie Arasin said...

Great review!! 💖

Bookworms Corner said...

Fantastic review. I had not heard of this show or book.

Nikki Saturday Nite Reader said...

Great review! I have this on my list to check out and will now move it up after your review. Have you read Hot Mess by Emily Belden? It is somewhat similar to this and just came out.

Kiss Like a Girl Book Blog said...

Great review! It's always such a pleasant surprise when the reviews are wrong.

Kindleandkompass said...

Wonderful review...adding to the to read list

DJ Sakata said...

I wants it - thanx for the post!

Jenn @ Bound to Writing said...

Awesome review! Character-driven stories are great when the characters are good which it sounds like they are in this one!

Ayushi A Nair said...

great review

Whispering Stories said...

Great review. Not heard of the book before. Looks like my kind of read.

Bentley BookBastion said...

The show definitely looks intriguing to me. I had no idea it was a book first. Great review!

Katiria Rodriguez said...

Great review, I also have been seeing this book quite around a lot lately because of the tv show, but I don't think is my kind of book to read. But I am really glad you liked it though, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.