Sweetbitter

Sweetbitter

Book - 2016
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"A lush, thrilling debut...about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant. "Let's say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge ..." This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the 22-year-old at the heart of this stunning debut. Shot like a bullet from a mundane past, she's come to New York to escape the provincial, to take on her destiny. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a "backwaiter," on and off duty. Her appetites are awakened, for food, wine, knowledge and experience; and she's pulled into the thrall of two other servers--a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman whose connection to both young lovers is murky, sensual, and overpowering. These two will prove to be Tess's hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story about discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781101875940
Branch Call Number: DANLER
Characteristics: 356 pages ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Sweet bitter

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k
kmobuckeye
Feb 11, 2019

A good story. I love that no one in here is perfect and it shows the true dirty new york underbelly.

d
daysleeper236
Jan 04, 2019

This novel is easy to hate, with its pretentious, poetic writing style and unlikable characters. That said, the second half is better than the first and by the end I couldn't put it down.

s
singasong70
Nov 28, 2018

Agree with previous reviewer r/t who gets published, praised.
Decided not to bother r/t reviews here - time is more valuable than that.
Thanks for letting me know!

a
agoldsby
Oct 07, 2018

The best way to sum up this book is mediocrity at its best. I'm convinced in America certain people are praised and deemed successful even when their work is boring and predictable. In this case, you'll even get a tv show out of it! Do not waste your time, this is not a new story. This isn't even a fully developed story. The author doesn't give us the benefit of a backstory for our main character. As far as we know she began her existence when she got to NYC and unfortunately the author goes out of her way to make the reader dislike Tess as the story goes on. Tess is a shrill and eternal victim who demonstrates all of the ugly qualities women dislike about other women -especially when a guy is at the root. My favorite characters were the wine, Simone and Sasha. I appreciate undiluted characters who present a strong voice. In short, this story was dry as toast. The ending made me even further disappointed in the main character. This could have been a really good story if we focused on all the characters and the behind the scenes of the restaurant. But alas we are stuck with this spiteful, drug addicted broke down waitress version of Carrie Bradshaw. But hey, it's America and here, mediocrity gets published, made into a tv show and eventually nominated for all the awards. I'm even bored writing these comments, for which I also blame the author.

ArapahoeTiegan Jul 12, 2018

I started out really liking this book. The premise of a 22-year-old moving to New York and getting a job in a high-end restaurant was pretty intriguing. It started out pretty good, but just went downhill from there. Overall, I found myself disappointed. The writing was nice, but the characters had no dimensions, and the story was not what I had hoped it to be.

b
bktm2586
Jun 28, 2018

I'm surprised so many other readers were disappointed. It is important, however, to know what you're getting into. This is basically a coming-of-age memoir. Yes, it's officially fiction, but if you Google this book or the author at all, you'll see that it's virtually her life, with some characters and names changed, just slightly. Also, it's just one year-in-the-life.

That said, it's beautifully written. If you love food, you'll love the detailed descriptions of all parts of fine dining, in one of New York's best restaurant. And, since NYC has about 7,000 good places to eat, that's saying something. And if you're interested in relationships, power struggles, love and disappointment, the author has a lot to say. And all this by a young, first-time author. An amazing accomplishment.

s
sooperhockeygirl88
Jun 13, 2018

How this got made into a TV series is beyond me. The "story" got no where. The main character Tess is simply a waitress who just moved to New York looking to start a new life. We don't know her past and we never will in the book. We just learn that she's envious of another co-worker's life, including her boyfriend. Tess is a drunk. A druggie. Still trying to find life. Never finds it. Even when the book is over.

On the plus side, there is some eloquent writing as the author describes food and the senses. There is also a nice poem tribute to 9/11 weaved in out of the blue.

Read it only if you have a lot of boredom to kill. Then you realize it's time you'll never get back. Just like Tess' life in New York City.

w
WinstonO
May 08, 2018

One of the worst books I've ever read! I graduated from cooking school & worked in restaurants so to me the plot is totally unreasonable. No one with no experience is going to get a FOH or BOH job without experience, especially in a 3 - 5 star restaurant. It didn't have much description of people, places, things, impressions. The dialogue was flat. There was nothing to hold my attention.

This was a librarian recommendation but it makes me wonder if any librarian read it. I only read it as part of the Pick 10 program.

s
smpowe5
Mar 20, 2018

One of the first books I have checked out that I didn't feel the need to finish. I read about half of it and it seemed to be going nowhere with no real storyline. Characters didn't catch my interest and just reminded me why I didn't enjoy working in a restaurant.

k
Kcota22
Oct 11, 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was wary at first, considering I am not one particularly interested in food literature or New York living; however, after reading a few chapters and getting into the style of writing, I was pleasantly surprised. The author has a beautiful way of prose writing and I felt like I could really relate to the main character solely through her descriptions of other characters in the novel and her mentality in general. I thought that the "lack of a plot" was intentional and was entirely part of the novel's glory. Not every character has to change or evolve in some way through the process of the book. I do believe that Tess learned a lot about the New York style of living and about the people and food, but she, as a character, didn't really change, and I think that was the point. Overall, I thought it was very enjoyable to read.

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bktm2586
Jun 28, 2018

bktm2586 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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daysleeper236
Jan 04, 2019

Other: This novel has many references to excessive, casual drug use.

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