Monday, April 26, 2010

The Best Possible Taste

Guest Post book review from the lovely Anisha. Visit her at Live Life Deeply

Sam O‘Reilly‘s novel ‘The Best Possible Taste‘ is centred around main character Stephen Beckett: the 41 year-old owner of the chic organic restaurant ‘Earthsea‘ on the shore of Brighton and happily married father of two children.

But wait - no!

We soon have to learn that Stephen‘s project with his best friend Vinny is not quite as successful as visitor numbers would make one believe.

None of the two are business men or too keen on accounting, which is why bills are rarely getting paid and expenses are not kept in check. Vinny and Stephen rather spend their time in the kitchen, dealing with their customers‘ orders and creating ever new dishes.

It‘s exactly that obsession, stemming from the utter distaste for his mother‘s non-existent cooking skills, which is wrecking Stephen‘s marriage.

Rachel, his wife, is not willing to let Stephen‘s mistakes and ignorance towards her feelings and their kids well-being slide again and thus, on the evening of their wedding anniversary, Stephen finds himself thrown out of his own house.

From then on, things start spiralling downwards for him until he hits rock bottom:
Stephen has to realise that there is neither a chance for Vinny and him to save ,Earthsea‘ nor to stop his marriage from falling apart. He gets so caught up in his own disaster that he barely notices what is going on around him.

Stephen panics about losing his children to another father figure when his wife suddenly turns up with, supposedly, a new boyfriend. His efforts to save the restaurant are being rudely sabotaged by his business partner‘s mean, cheating partner.

And what happens when Stephen himself feels interest in other women stir inside of him?

While all of the above sounds quite tragic, Sam O‘Reilly manages to tell a story that will equally tug on your heartstrings as well as make you laugh out loud and smile. There are also moments when you will find yourself utterly surprised as a lot of the small details eventually add up to the bigger picture, making this a well-thoughtout novel. 

I think the author captures Stephen‘s voice perfectly without painting a stereotypical picture of your usual male character. In fact, all characters are original and have their own unique quirks, starting from the Beckett children to the stripper Stephen gets involved with.

Also, I love that the likelihood of a story happening just like that is quite high: After all, the story is set in present time Brighton, a truly lovely place, and the subject, a married couple splitting up, is an everyday occurrence.

While this is a book from a genre that I usually do not enjoy reading too much, I found myself thoroughly entertained by Stephen‘s story. Working as a part-timer at a restaurant myself, I could actually feel his pain that comes with running a food business. And who hasn‘t been through a bad break-up?

All in all, ‘The Best Possible Taste‘ is a lovely read; it‘s one of those books full of quotes you want to note down and remember when ever life throws you lemons! 


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