Christensen, Kate. Blue Plate Special: an Autobiography of My Appetites. Anchor Books, 2013.
Reason read: this was a gift from my sister. I think I have said it before, but I will say it again. I read everything she sends my way.
Truth. The tongue can hold memories longer than the heart; sometimes even longer than the mind. Childhood delicacies like soft boiled eggs and Tapioca pudding could bring author Kate Christensen back to six years old, much the same way a steaming hot bowl of Cream of Wheat with melting swirls of butter and sparkling brown sugar still can for me in my middle age. The thread of food is woven in and out of Christensen’s story, sometimes as a integral character and other times as supporting cast, pivotal moments are remembered as meals.
I have a lot in common with Kate. I can remember feeling exactly like her when, at seven years old, the best present in the world was to have a space, separate from the house, in which to hide from the world; a place to call my own. Another similarity was when she shared that she salivated at the thought of the breakfasts in Little House on the Prairie. I, too, had food envy.
There were a lot of unexpected aha moments while reading Blue Plate. It is strange how the trauma of events in childhood can inform decisions in adulthood without us knowing how or why.
Quote I really liked, “Now and again he paused, a venerable, wheezing monument, and the audience could not have told whether he was in pain, asleep, swimming, about to spawn, or merely taking a breath” (p 49).
Playlist: Artie Shaw, Anita O’Day, Alison Krauss, Anne Murray, Blood Sweat and Tears, the Beatles, Benny Goodman, Bach, Bee Gees, Bob Marley, Chicago, Cat Stevens, the Clash, Carole King’s “Tapestry”, the Dead, Donna Summer, Elton John, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Costello, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”, Flying Cowboys, “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy, “Home in Oasadena”, Jayhawks, Joan Baez, Joan Armatrading, Led Zeppelin, “A Love Supreme”, Mingus, Monk, “Moonshiner”, Mozart’s “Requiem Mass” and “Laudate Dominum”, the O’ Jays, Olivia Newton-John, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig in the Sky”, Rickie Lee Jones, Rolling Stones, Supertramp, the Specials, Sly & the Family Stone, Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”, Schubert’s “C Major Quartet”, “Star of the County Down”, “Top of the World”, Talking Heads, Vassar Clements, Wings, and War.
Author fact: Christensen has written a bunch of stuff and here is the really cool part. I was introduced to her writing thanks to my sister. What I have come to realize is that I have two other novels on my Challenge list. I will be reading In the Drink and Jeremy Thrane. Because I am a geek about schedules, I am reading both books in the month of July (in honor of New York becoming a state).