Friday, December 5, 2014

A Second Bite at the Apple

Title:  A Second Bite at the Apple
Author:  Dana Bate
Publication Information:  Kensington. 2014. 336 pages.
ISBN:  1617732605 / 978-1617732607

Book Source:  I received this book through the GoodReads First Reads program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "There are no guarantees ... but guarantees are overrated. I'd rather trade in adventure. In chance. In opportunity. It's a scarier way to live, demanding trust in myself and others that I'm still trying to master, but I'd rather ask for a second chance than not take any chances at all."

Sydney Strauss dreamed of a career in food - working with food and writing about food. She dreamed of a future with her college boyfriend Zach. Neither happens. She ends up working as a producer in television and alone after a breakup.

Changes in circumstances bring her back to the world of food and to a job at the local farmer's market. Sydney meets new people, makes new connections, and even begins a new relationship. Then, a potential journalistic scoop comes her way - one that could catapult her to the career she has always wanted. Yet, everything has a cost. Is it worth it? How far do you go as a journalist to get the story? How do you balance your relationships when they conflict with the story you are chasing? These are the questions Sydney faces.

Sydney is an entertaining character as is the supporting cast in the book - the cantankerous boss who really has a big heart, the best friend who is there through thick and thin, the ex-boyfriend who tries to waltz his way back in, the sister who has always been the precocious one, and the new friend who may have a shady past. A perfect list of chick lit characters.

Some of the food descriptions in the book are quite delectable. Many - from the fresh baked bread to the perfect bite - at a little restaurant make you hungry! The book includes six recipes at the end as an added bonus.

The plot line of journalistic integrity and the pursuit of a story balanced against trust in relationships is not a new one, but it is a viable one. Sydney's dilemma is as follows:  "Sexy investigative journalism isn't my thing. Those aren't the stories I want to write. I want to write people stories, stories that humanize some aspect of our food system. But if a salacious story is what it will take to get my foot in the door ..., then that's what I'll write." Add to the ethical dilemma the complication that the story involves people who trust her. Is the compromise of principles worth making? Does the end justify the means?

Interestingly, the title of the book "second bite at the apple" as a phrase has its basis in legal and real estate negotiations. A financial dictionary defines the phrase as "a second chance at an argument or negotiation previously lost." I do not know if Dana Bate intended for this connection to be made, but the book does have a lot of do with second chances for several characters - a chance to redeem a professional reputation, a second chance for a dream career, and a second chance at love and a relationship.

This book has so many elements that interest me - food, the local food movement, big business versus independents, and journalistic integrity. Sydney is a likable main character as are some of the strong characters who surround her. However, unfortunately, there is something about the book that keeps it from resonating with me. I am not entirely sure why but I find myself not engaged with the characters or the plot. Don't get me wrong. It's a quick, light, enjoyable read; I just did not fall in love with it. Given the subject matter, I expected to, but I did not.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment