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Review: Memoir of the Sunday Brunch

April 28, 2013

Memoir of the Sunday Brunch

As the youngest of nine children, Julia Pandl was excited to be initiated in the rite of passage of working the Sunday brunch at her father’s restaurant, even as her siblings moaned and groaned about it.  Sunday brunch was a big day for the restaurant, so time was of the essence and there was no room for error.  Although she came to loathe the early hour and some of the work involved, Pandl treasured the time with her father and came to realize just how much it shaped her.

I went into Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, by Julia Pandl, expecting a story about Pandl’s time working in a restaurant, and I got so much more than that!  This is a story of family, love, commitment, and compassion.  As you can imagine, with nine children around, things at the Pandl home were often chaotic and it wasn’t always easy to get attention.  Even though it meant dragging herself out of bed hours before she wanted to, Pandl has come to realize just how meaningful spending that time with her father was.

Family is important to Pandl and she makes that perfectly clear in her memoir.  This book is humorous at times and very touching at others.  I made the mistake of reading it when I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night and I ended up sobbing as I finished it.

Memoir of the Sunday Brunch started out good for me and then became rather disjointed.  At that point, Pandl was writing of a difficult period in her life, and I think she was trying to convey that with her writing, but I found it a little off-putting.  Luckily, Pandl got back on track and the book finished very strong.  I do think the title is a little misleading, though, because the Sunday brunch isn’t the focus of the book.  I thought the book was very good, but not great, and think readers who enjoy memoirs about families will enjoy it.

I won this book in a contest on Algonquin Books Blog.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
23 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2013 6:52 am

    I love books about restaurant work, or anything to do with food really, so I would probably like this!

  2. sandynawrot permalink
    April 28, 2013 8:12 am

    I’ve been on a seriously massive memoir binge lately and this has to do with food so…I may need to add it to my list. Thinking about you up in the middle of the night crying though makes me sad! You should have texted me, because I am often up worrying about things.

  3. April 28, 2013 8:46 am

    I have been looking at this one – she is a Minnesota author. I am drawn to food memoirs.

  4. April 28, 2013 9:05 am

    I liked this one too.

  5. talesofwhimsy permalink
    April 28, 2013 10:31 am

    Great honest review sweetie. Sounds like a good one.

  6. Belle Wong permalink
    April 28, 2013 12:58 pm

    I really love memoirs about food. It’s good to know the middle part gets somewhat disjointed but it ends strongly.

  7. April 28, 2013 2:13 pm

    I like the sound of this book, but I think I would like it more if it was more focused on the food. I love food memoirs.

  8. booksnyc permalink
    April 28, 2013 3:01 pm

    Thanks for the honest review. I do love memoirs and had been eyeing this one for awhile.

  9. April 28, 2013 5:38 pm

    I reviewed this one, too, and also won it from Algonquin’s Blog! I agree with you on everything. It turned out to be more of a memoir about family than about food. I remember thinking that the writing changed, too, towards the end. She found it easier to write about the funny stuff than the sad stuff, I thought. Still, it’s been quite a while since I read it, and the close father-daughter relationship that they had has stuck in my mind, as well as some of the scenes with her father in the restaurant!

  10. Patty permalink
    April 28, 2013 6:10 pm

    I wish I could read a memoir but I cannot…I read one…by mistake…and that was enough for me! I am happy to hear about them from you, though!

  11. April 28, 2013 6:39 pm

    This sounds like a biography I would actually enjoy. lovely review. 🙂

  12. April 28, 2013 8:47 pm

    Whoa, nine kids! And agreed the title and cover photo really makes this look like a food-themed book. Sounds intriguing though.

  13. April 29, 2013 1:24 am

    I think I would like this one, but I’ll try to remember not to read it when I’m feeling tired or hormonal!

  14. Lauren Smith permalink
    April 29, 2013 2:30 am

    Any book that is centered around food, is the book for me. I love autobiographies and memoirs. This one sounds lovely. I just finished another great autobiography called, “Ring EXchange – Adventures of a Multiple Marrier” by author Pam Evans. Written for those who have never been married or married only once or are curious about multiple marriers.
    It was heartwarming and poignant. Lovely. http://www.ring-exchange.com/

  15. April 29, 2013 2:33 am

    I like memoirs such as family stories like this one.

  16. April 29, 2013 9:15 am

    You know I love foodie books, I love family memoirs, so this one sounds pretty good! I’ll be looking for it!

  17. April 29, 2013 10:27 am

    I have a bunch of restaurant-related books in my TBR pile… but now I need to add this one too! Great review 🙂

  18. April 29, 2013 11:35 am

    Great review- love your honesty! I am not a big memoir reader, but I LOVE books about food!

  19. bookingmama permalink
    April 29, 2013 2:27 pm

    Interesting how the book didn’t work for you in a section where the author was writing about a difficult time in her life. Have to wonder if her voice wasn’t as authentic here?

  20. Beth F permalink
    April 30, 2013 6:18 am

    This was a pretty good read over all.

  21. April 30, 2013 9:13 pm

    I don’t like it when it’s disjointed!!! I still might give this one a shot though!

  22. May 1, 2013 9:30 am

    How did a man who owned a restaurant have time to father 9 kids? His wife must have been, well, anyway.

  23. May 5, 2013 2:49 pm

    I’d probably find the parts about the restaurant interesting, but I think the disjointed parts turn me off.

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