Review: Kitchens of the Great Midwest

by Joli

This was such a fun and original read! Kitchens of the Great Midwest pulled me in right away, and I loved it the whole way through.

I had heard about this book in a couple different ways. I’m not sure how I originally found it and added it to my list (I think I saw it locally, in Minneapolis somewhere), but then I heard about it when Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy recommended it in her podcast. Luckily for me, when I added it on Goodreads, my friend and fellow LQ contrib Janna let me know she had the book and would lend it to me. Huzzah!

So, thanks to Janna, I got my hands on this one and dove in.

Each chapter is a short story, narrated by a different character. The characters all have something in common – they’re somehow connected to Eva Thorvald. She’s born in the first chapter and narrates the second chapter, and then we follow her life’s trajectory through the characters around her in the following chapters. I’ve never read something quite like this before, where all the stories are different but fit together so well.

It was hard to believe each story was written by the same author, put in the same book, and still fit perfectly with each other. Each character had such a different voice – there was a really unique feel to each chapter. Some of them made me giggle, some of them made me gasp. Some of the characters I loved, some of them I thought were terrible people. I think that’s how the author wanted it to be…at least, I hope 😉

Each chapter is titled with a type of food, and that food is a main character or theme in that chapter. Eva Thorvald is super immersed in the food world, so it makes sense that each chapter is about a food and, simultaneously, about her. Each food/chapter gives us another glimpse into her life, without actually hearing from her as narrator again.

Plus, there were SO MANY references to Minneapolis and Western Wisconsin, where I grew up. I identified with so many name drops, towns, and just the types of people around here. However, even if you didn’t have that, I think you could fall in love with this book.

I really liked Kitchens of the Great Midwest! It was such a fun summer read. I definitely recommend it. 4 stars.

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