I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci, 288 pages.
I think, but cannot know for sure, that this compendium of love gone wrong/food gone right is supposed to make you think Ms. Melucci is carefree, witty, and leading a somewhat charmed life in the big city. Upon finishing it, all I felt was sad for her - not pity, just sad. Obviously if you write a memoir about how awful your quest for love is and try to make it light-hearted, it would be nice if the reader believes you are okay with it. However she mentions her desire for marriage often, perhaps children, but mostly marriage, and as she moves into her 40s remains wistful on that front. I was expecting to get a sense that she was happy in her single-dom, and that some good pasta has satiated her desire for family. And that she is cooking up a storm, throws herself into dinner parties, and becomes a real foodie. That is what the book jacket promises, but does not deliver. It truly seemed like an exercise in frivolity, style with no substance as she falls into relationships that are train wrecks from the first meeting (with the exception of one). And the recipes and family anecdotes seem like an afterthought - more of a gimmick to be in the foodie memoir genre. I wanted to like it, I just didn't believe it. Although I would be interested to study the reviews of single vs. married women. My suspicion is a single gal may find it a bit more palatable.
It probably doesn't help that immediately after closing this book, I read another foodie lit/memoir called Cooking and Screaming: Finding My Own Recipe for Recovery by Adrienne Kane (author of food blog www.nosheteria.com). She had a stroke at 22, and food is very much a part of her comeback as she relearns everything, including how to cook. It is inspiring, honest, light without being flip, and the recipes fit nicely into the story (and sound appealing too). I would highly recommend this one as an alternative to I Loved I Lost if you are looking for a good memoir with food. (I'm obviously stuck in this genre as I savor Orangette's A Homemade Life....more on that later.)
I Loved I Lost - 2 stars
Cooking and Screaming - 4 stars