My Review of Sweet Bitter By Stephanie Danler

Didn’t you run away to find a world worth falling in love with, saying you wouldn’t care if it loved you back?

The lilacs smelled like brevity. They knew how to arrive, and how to exit. (Page 324)

As cliche as it sounds if you connect well with the first few pages of a book, most likely it is a keeper. An hour during lunch I started flipping through the pages and there it was the story of a 22 year old who left to replace her meaningless life with one in New York City. (Hey I was a 22 year old finding purpose in New York City). However this commonality was irrelevant as the level of spontaneity and recklessness that Tess manages to pull off in the novel I could never do.

She comes to New York City with barely any money and lands a job at a noteworthy restaurant.

We learn that a restaurant is truly a theater where themes of hierarchy, cliques, and intelligent hipsters all mold the landscape. Every role in the restaurant is truly a performance. The next time you sit at a fancy restaurant know that it takes an orchestra to provide you with that delicious grilled lemon chicken breast on your plate.

Kitchen culture is a thing.

What makes this National Bestseller by Stephanie Danler juicy, addictive read? Besides the booze and after hour bar hops she becomes captivated by Jake, a thirty year old mystery. He and the Tess’s idol Simone, a connoisseur at life (the arts, books, travel, etc) are the ying and yang for each other who engulf Tess in their platonic reach. Some weird type of romance happens between Tess and Jake, but the ying yang relationship of Jake/Simone becomes a mental conundrum for Tess.

However, would you learn anything if things were perfect?

Reality hits and suddenly a romanticized tale of a 22 year old moving to New York City decays. Tess who “found purpose” by losing herself to eccentric idols and her world of restaurant performance realizes chasing mystery has heartbreak laced into it.

Tess ultimately gets effed over, but it does set her head straight.

I loved this book ultimately it explains that you cannot escape life’s hardships by simply “losing yourself”. You’ll have to face it someday. It is just a matter of having “real strength”, which I personally believe Tess musters up towards the end of the novel.

If you’re looking for a chic escape from a comfortable life try picking up this novel. Even Oprah loved it.




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