A flurry of publicity surrounded the acquisition of this book, which was pitched by an MFA– grad waitress to an editor dining at one of her tables. An ingénue from the Midwest learns the ways of the world, and the flesh, during her year as a back waiter at a top Manhattan restaurant. If that’s not a baptism or a bat mitzvah or a quinceañera or a coming-of-age in New York, I don’t know what is. . This debut is a quintessential coming-of-age story set in a remorseless, unusual city. Danler, a former waitress, has fashioned a breezy piece of fiction that dramatizes the behind-the-scenes activities of a … It's almost impossible to believe that Sweetbitter is Stephanie Danler's first novel. Yes, she's had a childhood and been to college, but none of that counts. Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler, 2016 Knopf Doubleday 368 pp. May 24th 2016 They're sticking out all over, and no one has bothered to take the time to make everything fit together the way it should. Stephanie Danler shows promise as a writer (this is her debut novel), but she's not a natural storyteller. Peer pressure is no joke, folks. Stephanie Danler, a new-comer to the literary scene, has a poet's flair for words. Ever since Anthony Bourdain, our tribal king, published his peerless “Kitchen Confidential” in 2000, we, the demimonde of Professional Restaurant, have glutted the bookstores with more accountings of ourselves and our work than anyone could possibly wish to read. For example, in the beginning she writes about driving to New York to "escape" from her hometown and its "twin pillars of football and church." Welcome back. And you'll never understand. There’s the love triangle I mentioned, and you have to have patience for destructive obsessions with bad dudes and doing blow in bathrooms. It does get off to a slow start and the writing style takes some getting used to but if you like complex and often unlikeable characters, this may be for you. There was a note safety-pinned to my shirt: ‘Please text me so I know you’re alive, Your Roommate, Jesse.’ ”. I also look forward to more from this writer. What follows is her education: in champagne and cocaine, love and lust, dive bars and fine dining rooms, as she learns to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing life she has chosen. ARGH. The faults of the book are few. Interns ran up from the basement with brooms and swept madly from the corners, porters tied off the trash bags, the line cooks pulled down pint containers from shelves above their stations — inside were kits with bandannas, thermometers, pencil-­thin flashlights.”. A coked-out girl who sees the sun come up as many times as Tess does might cause her writer to run out of metaphors for unwelcome daybreak — “a dagger of morning prowled outside the open windows,” “sunrise came like an undisclosed verdict” — but Danler never does, and her description of the panic of the unannounced health department inspection was so engrossing to read, I missed a flight even though I had already checked in and was waiting at the gate. “When I woke again it was to a sunset I didn’t deserve,” the narrator, Tess, recounts. by Knopf. Our heroine, Tess, moves from nowhere to New York, where her life is going to officially begin. Restaurant is and always will be a young person’s game, but the busboys these days have more in common with the class they serve than ever before. “From all over the kitchen things went soaring into the garbage: half a leg of prosciutto and the ropes of sausages hanging by the butcher station. Readers thought Stephanie Danler's debut novel, "Sweetbitter," was autobiography. Stephanie Danler was an unpublished writer working as a waitress at Buvette, a West Village eatery, when she mentioned her manuscript to a guest, an editor at Penguin Random House. When I picture this toy it's usually bad news for the book, because the pegs are never all pounded in the way they're supposed to be. And then to top it all, you call yourselves ‘girls.’ ”, “I wanted to say, My life is full. I figured I could DNF it if it proved no good. Sweetbitter faced dauntingly high expectations for many months before any reviewers, let alone members of the general public, had the opportunity to read it. I decided to jump in because I love reading about food and wine and behind the scenes action at restaurants. Tess shows up in Manhattan, sells her car, and tries to charm her way into a … Much like the restaurant being condemned for its "architecture", this book falls apart because it becomes a drunken drug-filled morass. Mostly my tasks involved answering the phone and moving papers around, but one day our office was hosting a big meeting and I was “voluntold” to ready the refreshments. How much and how defiantly she “argues” with this arrangement, this condition, ends up determining the severity of the hits she will take before she finally settles in: “Not being able to swipe into the subway when people are backing up behind you. Sadly, it turns out to be rather unexceptional. I couldn't finish this book. There are thousands of stories about leaving a small town for the big, bad city, but SWEETBITTER's twist is that the dark underworld of New York takes the form of a seemingly harmless downtown restaurant job. Alfred A. Knopf. Hi Becky Sweetbitter is a good choice for a fun summer book to read. "Sweetbitter" has zero plot, and the characters were paper thin. I didn't feel. “Let’s say I was born in late June of 2006 when I came over the George Washington Bridge at 7 a.m. with the sun circulating and dawning,” she says. And you'll never understand. Throwing up between your feet on the subway stairs. We’d love your help. This book is completely full of itself and full of shit. It’s a state of being, and like most, has its attendant moral consequences.”. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the New School. “Appetite is not a symptom,” one character says. A few months ago another book called City on Fire -- also written by a novice author w huge cash advance -- debuted to much fanfare. Until you live it, you don't know.”. I checked it out because the novel had been hyped, and generally I like foodie stories, but the writing in this was too on-the-nose and I was groaning by page 5. Now a STARZ Original Series. . "Sweetbitter" was pretentious as hell. Danler is a whiz at metaphors, but as an author, she lacks intensity. While she's there, she falls in love and obsession, she finds a life, and starts to find herself. . I finished it but just barely. When I picture this toy it's usually bad news for the book, because the pegs are never all pounded in the way they're supposed to be. Sometimes when I'm reading a novel I picture one of those kids' toys that's basically a rectangular box with holes in it, and the toddler is meant to use a toy hammer to pound different-shaped pegs into the holes. It's unwieldy and unsatisfying. Today, the following conversation occurred: This is one of those "I really wanted to like it" books. $25. In the beginning, I made eye contact with everyone. I applied mascara, I counted my cash tips on my lap, I wrote myself notes, ate bagels, redistributed the cream cheese with my fingers, moved my shoulders to music, stretched out on the seats, smiled at ­flashes of my reflection in the train ­windows.”, Meanwhile, you and I know before she does that it’s not going to be New York that budges, that the only one making any changes in order to survive here will be Tess. Leaving your purse open on a stool with a mess of bills visible. The best thing about this novel was the cover, (so gorgeous) otherwise this stinker is definitely bitter, bitter, bitter. I looked reluctantly at my shirt and moaned. Reuben S. Sweetbitter, half-Choctaw, half-white, 24 years old, lives in turn-of-the-century East Texas in a sort of limbo. To see what your friends thought of this book, While I would generally recommend supporting your local, independent bookstore; in this case I have to recommend your local library first! The superficiality of the language colors the experiences, rendering them disposable instead of assimilated. And she has done an outstanding job of it. Refresh and try again. Back and forth. I touched my nose and flakes of blood came back on my fingers. We share her fear and wonder. Where can I buy this book? It has been on my tbr list since it was published. I adore Stephanie's writing, sis needs to come out with another one . It would be a tired story if it weren’t so, well, for one thing true and for another so brilliantly written. This was a spontaneous audiobook pick ..... available through my library overdrive. Tess basically speaks in a bunch of random, confusing thoughts about herself, her job, and her bland co-workers. The ending was disgusting. Big whoop! It revolves around a young woman named Tess who drives to New York City from America's heartland in order to make a life for herself. 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