Wednesday, March 11, 2015

|12 in 12| Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer

12 in 12 is me committing to read 12 books in 12 months. These 12 books will be old books that I've had on my TBR since the dawn of time and have been pushed aside for all the SHINY. 
I did 12 in 12 last year and it was success for me. I read a lot of books that I've been saying for years I would read and they were favorites! While I didn't keep up with 12 in 12 on the blog, I still loved my progress so here we go again! Here is the 12 in 12 intro post I did last year.
12 in 12 January Pick

Published January 8th, 2008
Genre: contemporary fiction
Rating: A-
Goodreads summary:
Elisabeth Page is the daughter of Ben Page, yes, that's right, THE world famous novelist. And yes, she's also the sister of Rascal Page, world famous novelist in his own right. So what does Elisabeth do? Much to her family's disappointment, Elisabeth is a pastry chef. And a pretty damn good one, at Beverly, the hottest restaurant in LA. The last relationship Elisabeth had was with Will, a man she grew up with and whose family ran in the same social circles as her family. But Will's constant jaunts around the world have left her lonely and brokenhearted in L.A.

That is until Daniel Sullivan bids on one of Elisabeth's pastry tutorials at a charity auction. Daniel is everything her family is not: a basketball coach, a non-intellectual, his family doesn't summer on Martha's Vineyard, and the only metaphors he uses are about passing the ball and being a team player. But somehow they fit. Between her family, Will, and the new cooking show that Elisabeth is recruited to star in, Elisabeth's life is suddenly incredibly new and different--the question is, can she embrace being happy or has her family conditioned her to think she's just not good enough?Liza Palmer expertly depicts a woman trying to come to terms with professional success, personal success, and finally dealing with a family that might love her from the bottom of their heart but doesn't necessarily have her best interest always at heart.
I've been meaning to read Liza Palmer since 2013 which is not that long since rest of the books in my 12 in 12 pile are much older than that. However, Liza Palmer comes HIGHLY recommend from so many people I trust (Sarah, Estelle, Angie, Ellice, Hannah, Cass) I just had to read one of her books and I have to say, I understand the love!

I picked Seeing Me Naked as my first Palmer because Nowhere But Home is too hyped for me so I was scared to make it my first choice and when I saw that Elisabeth is a chef, I had to start with this one since I love chef books.

There is a lot to love about Seeing Me Naked. There is chef Elisabeth and I just love chef heroes/heroines. This is a very character driven novel and I love reading about Elisabeth as she dealt with making a decision about her extremely demanding job that does not allow her to have a life outside the kitchen. Her complicated family composed of a Pulitzer winner (snobby) father, charity  extraordinaire mother and her brother who's on the road to author fame himself. Family books for the win!

There is also her complicated love life. There is Will, who's Elisabeth childhood friend and love but he's rarely available and there is new0in-town basketball coach Daniel. This is not a love triangle in any sense, it's just two men who serve two different purposes. I loved Daniel who's a nice hero! I like nice guys. This book is not just romance focused but the meeting scenes between Elisabeth and Daniel were really cute and the overall romance was well balanced with the rest of the story.

I'm a big fan of family books and that aspect was really important here. Elisabeth's family is well, elite with a capital E. Her dad doesn't approve of her career or career goals. I love seeing this complicated, messy family who ultimately loves each other, yes, but they're not always good for each other or show it in the best away but no family is perfect. Elisabeth's family screws up a lot but that didn't mean they were The Worst Ever. It isn't just either perfect or not perfect and I just loved that complexity!

Again, I also loved Elisabeth who struggled with her privilege.
Apparently, when I'm not being a pompous asshole or a know-it-all, I have very little to say. Good to know.
She knew she could pretentious and even "shitty" and constantly tried to rein it in but everyone is a snob about something which for that something is food (she's a chef!). I enjoyed reading about her because in the end she really was your average person. She struggled with family, with being everyone's definition of a "good" person and in her love life. It was so realistic but on top of that, there were some great laugh out loud moments. Perfect combination, anyone?

Rating: [A-] My first Liza Palmer but definitely not my last. Binge reading, here I come!
The crowd simmers down as the bookstore owner approaches the podium.

"Your building is in a commercial part of town. There are no kids there. Who are you going to pass candy out to, prostitutes?"

"How do you — I mean, how does one become a professional Santa?" I'm oddly intrigued. But at the same time, who is this person? What utopian parred did he frolic off of?

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