** 1/2 Blue Plate Special by Kate Christensen

Let me start with the aspect of Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites that I did not like: the sporadic recipes, tucked rather randomly at the end of some chapters, with loose ties to the main story. They don’t seem to add to the story, and their banality is puzzling (do we really need a recipe for soft-boiled eggs, even if it does tie in, superbly, with her father’s appalling abuse of her mother?) But it we leave aside the recipes the story of her violent (attorney!) father,  her mother, who raised three daughters alone with gusto, very little money, and a good dose of depression, and how she put herself through college with very little help from anyone is inspiring and entertaining as she moves to Europe, the East Coast, the West Coast, and back many times.

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