Women Writers Reading Challenge #21: Charlotte Au Chocolat by Charlotte Silver

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I’ve been on something of a memoir kick lately. There’s something about people looking back on their lives, interesting portions of their lives in particular, that makes me feel inspired and part of something bigger than myself–connected in a way with someone I have very little in common with.

This book reminded me, somewhat inexplicably, of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (which, incidentally, if you haven’t seen you really really should). There’s something about the grand whimsy and color–almost surreal–set against a time of change and decay and collapse. Charlotte Silver’s memories of her parents’ restaurant are sensory and full of life. The characters (and you can’t really call them anything else) that worked at the restaurant are vivacious and unique, but somehow familiar, as if you know people just like them. She handles the story of her parents’ divorce with sensitivity and shows them fully realized, with strengths and flaws in tact. Though it’s clear there were things missing from her childhood, Silver makes it abundantly clear that there were so many things that were right and wonderful. I quite enjoyed this little book; it will make you hungry and nostalgic, all at the same time.

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