Memoir Review: Save Me the Plums

August 20, 2019 Uncategorized 2 ★★★★

Memoir Review: Save Me the PlumsTitle: Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir
Author: Ruth Reichl
Source: from publisher for review

Summary: This was a fun, light but thoughtful and inspiring memoir.

I really enjoyed this story of Ruth Reichl’s time as the editor in chief of Gourmet. She had a very impressive background, having started cooking from Gourmet herself by the time she was ten years old. She had also previously worked at the LA Times and the NY Times, as both an editor and a restaurant critic. Working at Gourmet was her first job at a magazine though and she faced a steep learning curve as she re-made the magazine to include more of the thoughtful writing and inspiring ideas she remembered from her childhood.

There were many components of this book that I enjoyed. Learning how a magazine worked along with Ruth appealed to my love of career memoirs. Her passion for food and for making the best magazine possible swept me along. I really appreciated that she shared the process by which she made difficult decisions, from joining the magazine through her time working there. She also offered some thoughtful commentary on the way women’s work experience has changed within her lifetime. She drew me in with the heartfelt way she covered personal topics as well, including her experience with a parent with bipolar and the way her relationship with her son evolved, often mediated by food-related activities. The included recipes seem good too – approachable and with fun connections to her story.

I was surprised by how frank she was when describing her first impressions of people. A surprising number of them seem to remind her of animals! I could occasionally have used more of a reminder about who people were when they reappeared though. Otherwise, this was a delightfully easy read. The font was large and the author’s tone was light even when dealing with tougher topics. Her perspective looking back meant that even difficult challenges seemed like they were resolved quickly and for the best. It was also an inspiring read, as the author was offered this job she loves at fifty on the basis of her expertise. She then fought to make the magazine match her vision with great success. A great memoir for those of you who enjoy hearing from women with interesting careers.

2 Responses to “Memoir Review: Save Me the Plums”

  1. whatsnonfiction

    I just last week finished reading two of her previous memoirs so I could finally read this, so I’m excited to see you review it! Have you read any of her others? I heard so many good things about this one but I didn’t want to go into it blind when she’s so well known for her other books. You mentioned something that I had trouble putting my finger on but felt in her other books, that she has a certain way of showing the resolution of even difficult problems, and how things worked out for the best. She found a nice balance between these kind of challenges seeming too casual or overly melodramatic in hindsight. I liked her light tone too, even in dealing with tougher topics. Glad to hear you liked this one, I’m looking forward to it even more now!

    • DoingDewey

      I haven’t read any of her others, but I’d like to now! I kind of wish I’d had your idea of reading them in order, but I didn’t know anything about her going in and wouldn’t have been sure about devoting that amount of time to her books, even if the idea had occurred to me. I’m glad to hear the other books are similar and I’m excited to hear your thoughts on all of them 🙂

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