Cover Image: The Lemon

The Lemon

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Member Reviews

A famous travel host dies (think Anthony Bourdain) and that reverberates thru his friends and associates. This book, with each chapter told from different characters' points of view, was quirky and strange with some moments of brilliance. This is literary fiction that is a mash up of John Boyne's A Ladder to the Sky and J. Ryan Stradal's Kitchens of the Great Midwest, with a little of Antoine Wilson's Mouth to Mouth (so, strange.) It is told in third person limited, so the voice of the writing takes a little getting used to also. Themes include the restaurant business, fame, blackmail, and secrets but it is also about legacy and trust. Foodies will enjoy the high-end restaurant offerings as well as the behind the scenes with the chefs. 

I did have strong emotions about this book. I'm not sure I "liked" it- some of the characters are truly despicable, even in this satire- but this book is definitely memorable, and I think everyone who reads it will want someone to talk about it to immediately. 

Thank you to Netgalley for the advance copy for review.
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The Lemon is cleverly written and horribly smug at the same time. It is a thought exercise based from "what if Anthony Bourdain's death had been autoerotic asphyxiation and they covered it up?" but where everyone acts as awful as possible. It would have seriously improved the book to change more of the underlying details of the Anthony Bourdain character and some of the people who surrounded him in real life. As it was, it was an occasional slog to get through.
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I think I picked this up at the wrong time in my life.  It's not a bad book, I just do not have the capacity to appreciate it at this time.
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As a huge Anthony Bourdain fan, my initial reaction to the premise of this book was outrage - how dare they publish some ripped from the headlines novel based on his tragic death! However, Boyd (actually the pen name of three co-authors) wrote a hilarious satire focused on the depravity of the press, the ridiculousness of fame, and the pretentiousness of the high end restaurant world. The characters are insane and the plot is wild, but you know they are probably just slightly exaggerated versions of real people and events. Perfect for fans of Hollywood tell-alls or those who love to hate celebrity culture.
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Truly, one of the greatest autoerotic asphyxia novels of this or any century. The novel begins with the embarrassing death of a celeb chef and hilariously unravels from there. We see the people around the chef trying to hush up the manner of his death, so that they can preserve his memory (and still profit of his great reputation). This is a really really funny novel taking down bloggers, celeb chefs, publicists and even E from "Entourage." 

Get it, you'll laugh.

I received a free e-galley of this book in return for this review.
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