The Other Other Critics

The First Reviews of Ruth Reichl’s New Novel Are In

“Remember this book is supposed to be fun.” Photo: Random House

Yesterday marked the release of Ruth Reichl’s first-ever work of fiction: Delicious! A Novel. The book’s about a young woman who moves to New York to take a job at a food magazine (Gourmet), which then gets shut down. The protagonist discovers letters exchanged between James Beard and a 12-year-old written during World War II, and is inspired to “open her heart to love.” Reviews are just starting to drop, but the one in the New York Times is scathing. Read a few choice quotes, straight ahead.

“Ms. Reichl’s novel, however, is strictly kid stuff. It’s a gauzy ode to the liberating virtues of pleasure, glazed with warmth and uplift, so feebly written and idea free that it will make you wonder if the energy we’ve been putting into food these last few decades hasn’t made us each lose, on average, a dozen I.Q. points. […]

Most of the other characters in Ms. Reichl’s novel put you in mind of The Devil Wears Prada, too. As she introduces them, you think: there’s Stanley Tucci. There’s Emily Blunt. Bill Nighy and Alec Baldwin, not in that film, should also text their agents.” —The New York Times’ Dwight Garner

Delicious! is an enjoyable read overall. I just had to take a deep breath, relax and remember this book is supposed to be fun, albeit one where food facts are sprinkled like fleur de sel across a just-sliced, vine-ripened tomato.” —The Chicago Tribune’s Bill Daley

“Either Reichl respects her readers’ worldliness, or is showing off her vast and varied knowledge just a teensy bit. Probably both. When an older woman tells Billie that time is no more than a trick of the mind — ‘some days, I’m convinced that my young self is still here, somewhere, just walking down a different street’ — the leap to a pensive Reichl, working without her most visible and prestigious platform, isn’t difficult.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Kim Ode

The First Reviews of Ruth Reichl’s New Novel Are In