Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: Aftertaste by Meredith Mileti

Author: Meredith Mileti
Published: September 1, 2011
Genre: contemporary fiction
Paperback: 384 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Mira Rinaldi lives life at a rolling boil. Co-owner of Grappa, a chic New York City trattoria, she has an enviable apartment, a brand-new baby, and a frenzied schedule befitting her success.
Everything changes the night she catches her husband, Jake, "wielding his whisk" with Grappa's new M itress d'. Mira's fiery response earns her a court-ordered stint in anger management and the beginning of legal and personal predicaments as she battles to save her restaurant and pick up the pieces of her life. Mira falls back on family and friends in Pittsburgh as she struggles to find a recipe for happiness. But the heat is really on when some surprising developments in New York present her with a high stakes opportunity to win back what she thought she had lost forever. For Mira, cooking isn't just about delicious flavors and textures, but about the pleasure found in filling others' needs. And the time has come to decide where her own fulfillment lies-even if the answers are unexpected.
My Thoughts: Now, I may be biased in this review of the book because I am from Pittsburgh, but I just want to say that I really enjoyed this novel. Following a chef as she leaves her restaurant in New York City after she catches her husband cheating on her, Meredith Mileti takes you on a journey of one woman who must rediscover who she is and what it is that will make her happy. Unsure of what to do after moving back in with her father in Pittsburgh, Mira struggles with being a single mother and being taken away from what she was meant to do with her life, which is to cook. Over the course of the story, you see Mira grow from being an adult who only knows one way to do things, turning into a woman who reinvents herself and realizes that happiness isn't just one set thing, but can result from a variety of circumstances and relationships.
Mira is a complex woman, and as I said above, you are able to see her progress throughout the novel. Her anger at the beginning of the book is understandable and you are on her side immediately, even though you recognize that ripping out another woman's hair may not be the best couse of action. She grows into a woman who realizes that she must make a new path for herself in a new city, all while being a single mother. Seeing her grow throughout the novel and deal with the hardships that face her are great and Mileti does a fabulous job of character development. The other thing that I loved about this book was the descriptions. Mileti is a gifted writer who will have you lost in her descriptions of people, places, and things. The way that she describes the city is wonderful, and like I said before, I may be biased since I'm from Pittsburgh, but she paints the city in such a way that she doesn't make it more than what it is. There is not a large, thriving culinary world here, but there are some really great restaurants and areas of the city. Her descriptions of food are unparalleled and had my mouth watering and wishing that I was able to cook like Mira. Overall, this was a great first book and I look forward to seeing what Mileti will write in the future.

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