Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
I weirdly liked this book. Even though the main character was a bit much for me and totally self-absorbed at times, I liked it. Probably because the author does a kick-ass job describing DC and the food the main character is making. She also included recipes in the back I want to try sometime soon as well.
"The Girls' Guide to Love and Supper Clubs" has Hannah Sugarman at a cross-roads in her professional/personal life. She works at a think tank she really hates and has a boyfriend she really loves. She really would love to quit her job and just cook full-time, but disappointing her parents (both professors) and her boyfriend is something she's not quite ready to do. When her relationship with her boyfriend crashes and burns, Hannah is forced to move out and needs a way to make some money. When her work friend Rachel suggest that they do an underground supper club, Hannah thinks she may have a way to feed her need to cook and save some money. Things would be great except she's hosting the supper club in her landlord's home without his knowledge. And he's running for a council seat in Dupont Circle with one of his mission's to wipe out the restaurants or other entities running around serving food and liquor without a license.
As I said above, Hannah bugged me. I think the reason why is that I didn't get a sense she was trying hard at all. If she didn't want to work at the think tank then quit. Doing a terrible job wasn't winning me any favors. Same issue with her passive aggressively cooking when she's angry at her boyfriend. Or when she talks crap about her boyfriend's parents while they are eating dinner, or talks crap about a new love's interest's mom's cinnamon buns. So yeah, Hannah talks a lot of crap. I wanted to feel for her, but honestly most of the issues/problems are a result of her doing whatever and actually being shocked when she's called out.
The other characters are sketched out pretty well. You get a sense of Hannah's work nemesis and her boyfriend. I loved Hannah and Rachel together, but found it sad when Hannah called Rachel her only DC friend when Rachel rightfully calls her out for being self absorbed. Hannah's landlord was great and I started to wish for a book told from his POV.
The writing was good I have to say. Dana Bate does a good job of describing the food that Hannah is making, but also why Hannah is making certain things and what her food is trying to evoke with regards to eating/memories. The flow was off a bit though. Things get bogged down around the 80 percent mark (IMHO) and then I found myself skimming just a bit to get to the end.
The setting of D.C. was written very well here. Bate has obviously been to the nation's capitol and doesn't just describe random places and have her character get from to and fro in 10 minutes (not even with the Metro people). She describes Georgetown, the farmer's market (I miss them right now), Dupont Circle, Chinatown (which is the world's saddest Chinatown), the Army Navy Memorial, and a whole host of other places that I have been. I really enjoyed this book so much since there's not a lot about DC I am in love with these days. This book brought it all back though.
The ending was a bit abrupt. I wish that Hannah had more closure (yeah I hate that word) with her boyfriend and that we could have skipped a head a bit. Still I give it four stars for holding my interest and making me laugh out loud several times.