Helen Oyeyemi’s Gingerbread has the literary strengths of Boy, Snow, Bird, but the madcap, quirky, otherworldliness of Terry Pratchett. In the story, a young British girl, Perdita, make amazing, awesome gingerbread and they might not be of this world.
This book is much anticipated. Oyeyemi is a PEN open book award winner. And, the book holds up to the buzz. It is terribly enjoyable, in the way of a buddy, roadtrip movie. This book feels like a short jaunt. At moments, I found myself chuckling out loud, like when a gingerbread shiv is mentioned.
This book, like Boy, Snow, Bird, has a linguistic simplicity that lulls the reader into the world. While Oyeyemi’s story
What are some other books about food that aren’t about food?
- The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray: I have only read the preview at First to Read, but this book seems to speak to the ways that food and feminity intertwine powerfully, emotional, and irrevocably. (Amongst other issues.)
- An Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood: Like Gray’s book in some ways as it deals with the challenges of being a woman in young adulthood in our society. This was one of my favorite books in my early twenties, as the protagonist was my age. I still vividly remember the feelings of camaraderie with the MC.
- Sourdough by Robin Sloan: About the same length as Gingerbread, Sloan’s book also presents a world nearly like ours. The foodstuff in Sloan’s book is magical sourdough.
- The Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust: I read this book in a fit of youthful stupidity. I wished I had waited to enjoy the book. His meditation on a madeleine became much more interesting to me years later when I used to make them for my daughters. Perfection is hard to achieve, if not impossible. But, striving for the impossible is human.
- The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers: I got to see Eggers speak about this book and taste the Yemeni coffee. Eggers is a wonderful writer, anyway, but this story with its central success is particularly compelling.