Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Non-Fiction Review: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

Becky---a butter and bacon loving mama---and Rachel---a vegan bean eating daughter---share stories of their crazy, wonderful, and sometimes challenging lives as Rachel becomes a mother herself.

We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

Johnson, B & Randolph, R. (2013)

[Genre: Memoir, Humour]

Thanks to Zondervan for providing an advance copy of this title for review. I received no other form of compensation and all opinions are my own.

We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook is an odd book. Mother and daughter tell random anecdotes from their lives with a common thread of food. At the start, I didn't really want to like it. The narrative is somewhat forced, with switches between Becky and Rachel having to be highlighted with their names before each paragraph. The tone of the book is so positive that it's almost overwhelming and a bit false, with bad periods in each woman's life alluded to only in the vaguest terms. There's not a whole lot of depth. The recipes at the end of each chapter at very Americanised, referring often to pre-packaged ingredients you don't find even in other parts of the western world (something I find particularly off putting as an international reader. Where am I meant to get canned roast peppers from?).

But somehow, the book . . . works. It made me laugh, more than once. I wouldn't say its the most hilarious book I've ever read, but it has a gently styled humour to it that many will appreciate. Although a lot of the recipes aren't really to my personal taste, not being vege/vegan or having food allergies, I can see it being a book I would turn too for ideas when catering for friends or family with special dietary requirements. As Becky (the mama) says more than once, cooking for other people is a way of sharing love, and catering for special needs is an increasingly important part of that love. I found Rachel and her family's journey into veganism genuinely interesting to read about, even if it doesn't make me inclined to head that way myself. I think her complete lack of pushy aggression about her views on food has actually given me more sympathy for veganism than I've had in the past. Ultimately though, Becky and Rachel just have an obvious love for each other that shines through, in a way that makes you forget the books bad points (momentarily at least).  Their open affection is to be celebrated and makes this a book that will warm your heart and remind you what family is meant to be about.

3.5/5 Stars

We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook is released August 6th

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