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Review: Corked

January 15, 2012

I picked up Corked, by Kathryn Borel, because I thought reviewing it would make a good Weekend Cooking post.  After all, the cover proclaims, “A father.  A daughter.  The wine trip to end all wine trips.”  You know, I love a good memoir and I thought this one might teach me a thing or two about wine, but I quickly discovered the book was more about Borel’s relationship with her father than it was about their wine trip.

Kathryn Borel was born in Canada – her father is a domineering French hotelier and their relationship was somewhat strained.  After Borel was involved in a tragic accident, the two decided it was time to repair their relationship and what better way to do it than traveling through France on a wine tour?  He is a wine expert and she had much to learn, so it only made sense.

They embarked on their journey full of anticipation.  Along the way, they pouted, misbehaved, acted rudely and failed to communicate.  I wanted to tell both of them to grow up.  I grew frustrated because the book was less about the journey and more about their fractured relationship.  Neither Borel nor her father came off very sympathetic, so I found I didn’t care that much about their relationship.  There was an “aha” moment that seemed to be taking them in the right direction, but by the time they got to it, I was ready for the book to end.

I’m sure writing Corked was cathartic for Borel but, overall, I found it disappointing.   Borel’s writing is fine, the story she had to tell just didn’t interest me.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

38 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2012 5:00 am

    I have this book but haven’t read it yet. I remember reading another review when it first came out that pretty much said the same thing you did, and that made me delayed in reading this book (in fact, I’d forgotten I have this book until I read your review just now!) I too was hoping it was more about the wine, than the whine 🙂

  2. January 15, 2012 7:46 am

    I think that’s the problem with memoirs sometimes-that it’s cathartic for the author but not so much interesting for someone who doesn’t know that person. =/

  3. January 15, 2012 7:53 am

    I’m so sorry this one didn’t work for you. I had a feeling that it wasn’t for me when I read the description.

  4. January 15, 2012 8:08 am

    I’ve read mixed reviews on this one, too. Thanks for reading it – now I don’t have to 🙂

  5. January 15, 2012 8:38 am

    I’ve read a few memoirs that I could understand were cathartic for the authors but they just didn’t do much for me. Thanks for reviewing it for the rest of us!

  6. January 15, 2012 9:14 am

    That is too bad because what a beautiful story this could have been. When there is a damaged relationship, you want them to figure it out, not continue the bad behavior. I went all misty-eyed because I could totally see my husband and daughter doing a trip like this some day…except I would want to go with!

  7. January 15, 2012 9:32 am

    That’s too bad. I could see that a plot revolving around a wine trip could have made a good book if it had been done better!

  8. January 15, 2012 9:39 am

    Such a GREAT review! I probably would have bought the book based on the title and the cover – but like you, my expectation would have been a focus on the wine tour. Thank you so much for the honest assessment of writing style and content

  9. January 15, 2012 9:45 am

    Like Molly, I probably would have purchased this book simply because of the wine trip description. It’s too bad it didn’t work out, though. I hate it when that happens 😦

  10. January 15, 2012 9:49 am

    I read another review that said pretty much what you did. Will skip this one.

  11. January 15, 2012 9:57 am

    It sounds like the author missed a good opportunity to include some great anecdotes and descriptions of her wine journey through France. I’m sorry you were disappointed by this book and I totally understand why. It sounds like the author and her father were stubborn, prideful and immature – why they chose to work out their relationship while on a wine tour through France is puzzling. It also sounds like the waste of a trip as well as a missed opportunity for a delightful memoir.

    I hope you are enjoying Little Princes. It’s sad and shocking in parts but also inspiring and terrific. I am looking forward to your review of that book!

  12. January 15, 2012 9:58 am

    Oy! The premise was SO promising, but I fear this one would’ve fallen flat for me, too. SOMEONE has to be sympathetic!!! lol

  13. January 15, 2012 10:09 am

    Yah sounds like a pass to me. Thanks for the review.

  14. January 15, 2012 10:59 am

    From your description, I would categorize this book as sort of whiny, and since I don’t usually like whiny reads, I think I will be staying away from it. It does seem like an interesting premise, and one that could hold a lot of promise, but it just sounds like it wasn’t executed well at all. Thanks for being so forthright in your review. It was much appreciated!

  15. January 15, 2012 11:02 am

    This sure sounds like a memoir to take a pass on. I too would have thought it would have a bit more about wine by looking at the title and cover. Reading about someone pouting does not appeal to me at all.

  16. January 15, 2012 11:22 am

    Based on your review I can tell this one is not for me.

  17. January 15, 2012 11:55 am

    Oh, what a bummer! I can see why this disappointed you. I don’t like when books have titles and descriptors that aren’t actually what the books are about at all. That happened to me with the book A Slave in the White House – so frustrating!

  18. January 15, 2012 11:59 am

    I guess that’s one of the reasons I haven’t finished the book. I wanted more French wine!

  19. January 15, 2012 1:03 pm

    Sorry this didn’t do it for you, but I think I might have thought the same, a great way to learn more about wine.

  20. January 15, 2012 1:06 pm

    Congrats on winning that TTSS giveaway! I feel like a double winner because it helped me discover your blog which is very fresh. I enjoyed cruising around and subscribed! Thanks and Happy New Year!

  21. January 15, 2012 1:19 pm

    Memoirs can be such a hit or miss when that happens. Especially when they’re marketed to reflect something entirely different!! Sorry that it was a bummer!

  22. January 15, 2012 1:38 pm

    Bummer!!! The premise sounds so promising.

  23. January 15, 2012 1:41 pm

    Memoirs…. *sigh* I reviewed one today that didn’t quite cut it for me either.

  24. January 15, 2012 2:18 pm

    That happens sometimes…a book we think will be a good fit…just sort of fizzles!!!


  25. Carol Wong permalink
    January 15, 2012 3:08 pm

    I love memoirs, but I am so glad that this one not on my shelf to be read!


  26. lomaurice permalink
    January 15, 2012 3:52 pm

    I read this one and had similar feelings. Not what I had hoped.

  27. January 15, 2012 4:12 pm

    And I feel pretty meh about the book

  28. January 15, 2012 5:52 pm

    What a shame. It did sound promising.

  29. January 15, 2012 5:53 pm

    I reviewed this a few years ago, and didn’t care much for it. Their father/daughter relationship was a big turn off for me, I can’t imagine my dad and I acting the way these two did, especially around each other!

  30. January 15, 2012 6:14 pm

    It’s a shame this book wasn’t better. I’ve always believed it’s never good to air the family’s dirty laundry in public. This is a perfect example of why not to do that.

  31. January 15, 2012 6:51 pm

    That’s too bad – this one sounded like it had a lot of potential.

  32. January 15, 2012 11:12 pm

    I can totally see how that would be annoying. I generally like to stay away from stories that are all about people whining/arguing.

  33. January 16, 2012 11:01 am

    I have this one on my shelves, but haven’t gotten to it. While I love memoirs I am not sure that this one is for me based on your description of the main characters.

  34. January 16, 2012 12:05 pm

    I, too, have read some books, especially memoirs, that weren’t what you would expect from the description, and been disappointed by that. Writing as a catharsis is a good thing for the writer, I suspect, but not such a good thing for most of us readers. One sort of “catharsis” book that proved the exception for me was Joyce Carol Oates’ “A Widow’s Story”, but I suspect that may be because I’m still suffering the grief of losing my little brother in a random act of violence, and I could relate to her sense of confusion.

  35. January 16, 2012 1:11 pm

    I won this one in a giveaway. The wine trip appealed to me, butthen I saw a few reviews similar to yours that haven’t exactly moved it to the top of the pile.

  36. January 17, 2012 2:08 pm

    Sorry this wasn’t a good read for you. It sure doesn’t sound like something I’d like either.

  37. January 19, 2012 1:38 pm

    I totally agree – too much WHINE and not enough about WINE.

  38. January 24, 2012 3:50 pm

    Sorry to hear this one was disappointing. I hate when the books aren’t exactly what you expected.

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