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Review: Charlotte au Chocolat

March 6, 2012

Charlotte’s parents owned Upstairs at the Pudding, a restaurant above The Hasty Pudding Club, in Harvard Square.  Her father ran the kitchen and her mother made delectable desserts including the one Charlotte was named after, charlotte au chocolat.  Charlotte was brought to the restaurant almost every day and she was expected to be well dressed and well behaved.  Going to the restaurant was an adventure for young Charlotte.

When Charlotte’s parents divorce, the restaurant is left for her mother to run and she tackles it with undying spirit.  Even as the restaurant barely hangs on, her mother works hard and keeps her sense of fun and glamor.  She is determined and never gives up.  Things begin to change for Charlotte at around the same time because she rarely sees her mother.

Charlotte au Chocolat is Charlotte Silver’s memoir of growing up in the Pudding.  I found it to be a fascinating peek into the restaurant business and even felt like I got a glimpse of the Hasty Pudding Club.

Charlotte led a somewhat solitary life – her friends were the ever changing staff at the restaurant.  She didn’t feel sorry for herself, though.  She loved the restaurant and it’s glamor and learned to appreciate her mother’s hard work and determination.  Charlotte showed spunk of her own by making the best of a less than ideal situation.

Even though there isn’t a lot of “meat” in Charlotte au Chocolat I enjoyed reading Silver’s reminiscing.  It’s a pleasant look at her past and a celebration of what it was.  I love the whimsical trailer for the book:

Review copy provided by Penguin. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
40 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 4:31 am

    This sounds adorable. Definitely one I would read.

  2. March 6, 2012 8:12 am

    This looks so cute!

  3. March 6, 2012 8:20 am

    This sounds like a book for me. I love food related memoirs!

  4. March 6, 2012 9:31 am

    This memoir sounds fascinating. I’ve only read two other memoirs that involved food-related businesses but I thought they were so interesting. I love that this memoir is about running a restaurant. I imagine the part of the book about her mom running the restaurant after getting divorced is inspiring, too.
    This book is going on my tbr list! Thank you, Kathy!

  5. March 6, 2012 10:06 am

    I already had this one on my list after reading a few great reviews of it, but your review clinches it for me. I love foodie memoirs, and would love to dig into this one and see what I think of it. Great review today, Kathy! It was much appreciated!

  6. March 6, 2012 10:27 am

    Sounds so cute. And seriously adorable cover.

  7. March 6, 2012 10:40 am

    This does sound like a charming read and I do just love the trailer.

  8. March 6, 2012 12:33 pm

    Oh, I like the sound of this one. I’ll have to add this one to my wishlist.

  9. March 6, 2012 12:36 pm

    I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I loved seeing it through her eyes but I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her childhood.

  10. March 6, 2012 12:40 pm

    Sounds like a good story.

  11. March 6, 2012 1:22 pm

    The trailer is adorable, and the book sounds, well, delicious! Terrific review, Kathy!

  12. March 6, 2012 1:27 pm

    I think I might get hungry reading this memoir. Still I will have to look for this restaurant (or at least where it was) when I go to Cambridge to visit my son who lives there.

  13. March 6, 2012 1:50 pm

    I don’t actually read many memoirs, but this one really grabs my attention. I think it’s a combination of the title and cover really. Yes, I’ve been known to judge a book by it’s cover on more than one occasion.

  14. March 6, 2012 1:57 pm

    I love foodie memoirs and I hadn’t heard of this one before. I’ll have to check it out.

  15. Margaret permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:15 pm

    Love the title! I have to add this one to my wishlist!

  16. March 6, 2012 2:26 pm

    Love this book trailer!

  17. kaye permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:30 pm

    It sounds cute. Glad you enjoyed it.

  18. March 6, 2012 2:36 pm

    I don’t read any memoirs…unless you count the one I read by accident and thought was a novel…

    But I love that you do and reading your reviews is enough for me…I must not like reality!!!

    Lol…

  19. March 6, 2012 3:17 pm

    I think a memoir about a restaurant childhood sounds great.

  20. March 6, 2012 3:23 pm

    She’s a local here in Cambridge and the book looks adorable. She was in the store where I work signing copies the other day and seemed nice.

  21. March 6, 2012 3:55 pm

    It would make me hungry, I am sure of it

  22. March 6, 2012 3:58 pm

    It certainly sounds like a cute read! It would be fun if there were recipes included in the book. 🙂

  23. March 6, 2012 4:38 pm

    This sounds like one I would love for sure!

  24. March 6, 2012 5:14 pm

    Love the cute title and cover. The restaurant business fascinates me- maybe that’s why I watch Top Chef. Glad it was a sweet read.

  25. March 6, 2012 7:41 pm

    This sounds so cute and I like the trailer 🙂

  26. March 6, 2012 8:26 pm

    It has a great combination of things I like in a memoir … and the cover is excellent!

  27. March 6, 2012 8:28 pm

    I think this would be fun to read if just for the inside look into the business!!

  28. March 6, 2012 9:15 pm

    Glad you liked this one. Did it make you hungry?

  29. March 7, 2012 1:00 am

    Unbelievable. I just picked this book up from the New Releases shelf at the library. I haven’t started it yet but your review is encouraging to me.

  30. March 7, 2012 6:59 am

    I really liked this one. And it was a quick read too.

  31. March 7, 2012 7:19 am

    Sounds like an enjoyable memoir.

  32. March 7, 2012 7:43 am

    This sounds like an interesting memoir, and I’m sure the food aspect makes it more so. 😉

  33. March 7, 2012 12:36 pm

    This is on my to-read-very-soon TBR since I live practically next door to the restaurant — and I adore books set in Boston. I sadly missed seeing the author at a reading here 😦 but hopefully I can catch her again soon.

  34. March 7, 2012 3:44 pm

    The cover of this one is oh-so-enticing, and I wasn’t sure if it was fiction or a memoir at first! (Should have looked harder at the words on the ol’ cover.) Definitely sounds like one I would enjoy.

  35. March 7, 2012 6:31 pm

    definitely adding this to my wishlist! when i was a kid my dream was to open up a pastry shop. i would love to see what its like to run a restaurant and get a behind the scenes look at everything.

  36. March 7, 2012 8:24 pm

    This looks fun. I like the idea that it is light , but still entertaining. That’s what I’m looking for these days!

  37. March 7, 2012 8:24 pm

    This sounds so cute! I’m going to have to beg my library to buy it, since they don’t have it yet.

  38. March 17, 2012 12:51 pm

    I like the sounds of this book – thanks for sharing your review! 🙂

  39. boardinginmyforties permalink
    March 21, 2012 8:31 pm

    This sounds like a fun read and the book trailer is really clever too!

  40. escapingjourney permalink
    April 3, 2012 3:04 pm

    I’ve read a couple reviews of this one now and it sounds very cute.

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