Every so often I’ll read a memoir written by someone even though I have no idea who they are. I really love getting to know someone through their own words, their own stories. When I started reading David Leite’s Notes on a Banana, I’d heard of Leite’s Culinaria but wasn’t really familiar with his writing. Turns out, he’s pretty amazing at it. Not surprising at all when you know he’s won three James Beard awards, but again I knew basically nothing about him when I picked up his memoir. I very quickly became a fan, and by page 9, I was hooked. It was a particular description of his mother that got me, where he described her tendency to give everyone a nickname:
“You can see her sizing up someone at a first meeting, rooting through their speech and behavior to find the nickname they should have, as if she’s finally correcting the misdeeds of inattentive parents, oblivious spouses, bastard bullies. And when she bestows that name, which is always done with a whiff of ceremony, she forever owns that version of the person. They are her creations now — with her expectations, dreams, and rules of conduct laid out for them.”
I just love his writing, I can’t say enough good things about it. I’m so happy I decided to read this book despite not knowing anything about David. It’s like meeting a new friend over coffee and cake, hearing interesting stories and laughing about how f*cking crazy our families are.
What are you reading?