Somewhere along the line, it dawned on me that generations can have an enormous impact on how one receives and relates to the unfolding story of another person's life. In reading award-winning novelist and food writer Kate Christensen's BLUE PLATE SPECIAL --- all 354 adventurous, poignant, mundane, sensual, annoying, inspiring, and remarkable pages of it --- the dates and events dropped here and there told me that I am about half a generation older. More importantly, our mothers were born nearly a generation apart.
Why would our mothers be important? Mothers are always important when their daughters write. Mine was born in time to live most of her childhood during the Depression, followed immediately by the onset of WWII as she officially entered adulthood. Christensen's mother was born more than a decade later, entering adulthood during the post-war economic boom and the social upheaval that gave birth to bohemian culture, women's liberation and social activism --- concepts unheard of during my mom's formative years.
They came to parenthood with vastly different expectations, starting their families during the Baby Boom and Baby Bulge, respectively. My mother's generation of married couples traditionally did not divorce or separate under the weight of dysfunctional or abusive relationships. Their offspring were expected to marry just once (unless death intervened), but most of my peers tried it and found marriage a hugely flawed idea. Christensen's mother, like her daughter, journeyed through many good, bad and indifferent partners, always searching for the right one.
"...a zesty start for readers and foodies alike who yearn for an eclectic buffet of fine narrative writing spiced with masterful imagery and substance."
That hunger to search, taste, find and reflect on the ideal relationship --- with others, with oneself, with one's vocation or work, and especially with what nourishes us emotionally, spiritually and physically --- is what sets BLUE PLATE SPECIAL apart from the usual coming-of-age memoir.
As one generation continuously flows into