Quick Book Review: The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (DNF)

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this book on a few blogs, and in a favorable way. Or maybe I just forgot about the negative reviews and just remembered that I read reviews of it?๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, not for me, this one. A very short review.

Did not finish. I read about half way the book. I didn’t enjoy this story very much. There was a lot of food talk which is fun for foodies. For me, it was a little too detailed.

What I really didn’t like about the book was that the cooking school’s lessons, one every chapter, were a framework in which the problems and/or histories of the students was described, a different student each chapter. I found this too obvious, somehow. I guess the book felt unnatural because of this set-up.

I don’t like short stories much, and this almost seemed like a book of short stories with the excuse of the cooking lessons as a co-ordinating story pulling the individual stories together.

Also I didn’t connect with any of the students, mainly because they were mentioned only a little bit before their own chapter. So, these were really stories about people that I didn’t know about and not necessarily wanted to know about.

Rating: No rating, did not finish the book

Number of pages: 256 (read to page 120)

First published: 2009

Genre: contemporary fiction

Have you read this book?

Did you enjoy it?

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

22 Responses to Quick Book Review: The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (DNF)

  1. Judith, I tried to listen to this book but stopped. The story escapes me as I write this so I don’t remember why but I made a point to stop.

    Sorry this book didn’t work for you.

  2. Oh, no! I actually really enjoyed this one. I listened to the audiobook version and Cassandra Campbell was narrating, whom I love to listen to. There was something a little haunting in her voice. I like all the food talk and can’t wait to try some of the recipes, too! Ah, well. We can’t love them all, right๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I listened to the audio book version of this and enjoyed it. I’m not a fan of short stories and can see that I might have abandoned it if I’d tried reading the print version, but I loved listening to the classes. I enjoy cooking and picked up a few good tips – even though I admit the story wasn’t that strong. The characters do repeat as you read through the book and so you do end up knowing them all, but I can see why it would be off putting in the beginning. I don’t think I’d run to read any more of her books though – unless they were also audio books on a cookery theme.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Jackie, it seems lots of people listened to the audio! I’m surprised you liked this one, but as you say, maybe because it was on audio.

  4. bibliosue says:

    Well, I have this one on my shelf but now I don’t know if I’ll pick it up anytime soon….

  5. Leslie says:

    I like short stories and I like food but this doesn’t sound like a book I’d pick up. However… I might like the audio because Cassandra Campbell is one of my favorite narrators. She could read the dictionary and I’d probably like it. (Just kidding, kinda)๐Ÿ™‚

  6. chrisbookarama says:

    My review might have been one of the negatives you forgot about.๐Ÿ˜‰ I didn’t love it either. It was too cutesy or something.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Chris, indeed. It was rather too friendly – I remember one woman who did the cookery course to escape from a hectic life with kids, and on the first night of the course, an older woman, after a very brief introduction, starts to give her advice about taking time out for herself, etc. I didn’t buy that at all. It wasn’t in a light-hearted way but more as if the older woman could read the mind of the younger and help her out.

  7. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    This was one I read pre review days but I gave it four stars so I must have liked it๐Ÿ™‚

    • Leeswammes says:

      I guess you did like it, Shelleyrae.๐Ÿ™‚

      I might have liked it more on a different day – who knows. But I was sitting out in the garden on a beautiful day, so the circumstances were perfect for liking this book. Ah well.

  8. I tried reading this one and it stunk-it had the potential-just the potential was never reached. PS
    I have a give away for seasonings that you may like.

  9. Hmm, sounds like this one needs a more coherent, cohesive narrative. I know what you mean about a book that feels like it’s been “strung together”.

  10. I just finished reading this one and am about to post a review on it. I liked it, but it is not something that will stick with me. I primarily read it for the food.

  11. Inessa says:

    I didn’t read it yet, but it is on my list. It is a kind of story I like. I read parts of this novel and I thought it would be a nice story. Maybe it is because I write short stories. Anyway, I like reading lots of reviews, it is fascinating. Thank God, there are blogs like this one.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Thanks, Inessa. I hope you’ll enjoy this book when you get round to reading it. Good luck with your stories – reading other people’s work is an important preparation for writing!

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