SweetBitter – Stephanie Danler

I just finished reading SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler and I have to be honest about this book. I have mixed emotions about the book and finished feeling like “That’s It?!”

The book is about a girl who moves to NYC to start a new life and ends up working for a well known restaurant downtown. While she’s adjusting to her new life and developing relationships with her coworkers, she also begins to look at the world differently through the lenses of flavors. I enjoyed the fact that the book takes you through various seasons and how she learns to associate various parts of her life with flavors of different types of food and even with different types of wine. The main character takes you through the hardship of the restaurant life as well as its delicacies and its rewards.

Overall the story gears towards young women to see life as full of flavors that should be savored and enjoyed, whether salty, sweet, sour, or bitter. I think for me my struggle was the main character. It just seems that anytime I had an understanding of who she was, she would go left and then I would have to rethink of who she is as a whole and it just continued throughout the entire book.

In short, I just found her weird. One example without giving away the story, she had an interview where the restaurant owner wanted to understand her as a person and I guess due to an issue in her past, she just became defensive and asked if the questions were necessary for her interview. In this scene, you don’t exactly know what happens in her past to make her defense and on top of that her defensive reaction was just over the top which made her even more weird to me. In my head I just kept thinking, Ok your past may be a touchy subject so just fluff it or make it up so you don’t have to deal with it. It just seemed that her reactions to situations were either completely over the top or just completely left that I just thought why would anyone react that way.

Obviously this is just my insight on the book because on the flip side, my sister who recommended the book absolutely loves it because she could relate to the main character, whereas I couldn’t, so that plays a role in my perspective. Outside of the focus of the main character, I again enjoyed associating different seasons of life with different flavors and wines (because who doesn’t love a good wine ). This book showed how if we savor life the same way we savor foods, we would look at the world differently and not be so quick to let life pass us by. Life has a way of leaving an impression on our palate if we just take in each moment.


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