Book review: ‘Life From Scratch’ by Melissa Ford

Oh, Melissa Ford — how you captured the heart and soul of a blogger. It felt like you could have written this book for me. With fresh prose and very likable characters, I’m now standing here before you — proudly — with a copy of Life From Scratch waving above my head. Read it! I’m shouting. Read it.

Rachel Goldman is recently divorced and still smarting from the demise of her 12-year marriage, which was a slow descent into silence. Now living on her own in a rented apartment in her native New York City, Rachel finds herself lonely, listless and frustrated. How could she emerge from the wreckage of being with Adam, a certified workaholic, without even the most basic of culinary skills? How can she stand eating meals out of Styrofoam take-out containers night after night?

In an effort to learn a little more about herself, Rachel quits her graphic design job and dedicates herself to learning to cook while slowly draining her savings account. And after starting a blog, Life From Scratch, she finds that many other people are on a similar quest — or, at least, relate to her experiences. As her blog readership grows and new people — men — enter her life, Rachel has to decide if she’s really ready to let Adam go . . . and if she can ever keep her risotto from burning.

If the flavor of Life From Scratch sounds a bit “Julie & Julia” to you, friends, you’re right: it totally does. I haven’t read Julie Powell’s memoir but have seen the film and, sure, there are resemblances here. Not in an OMG-you-plagiarized-me! way, but in a “I’m figuring out my life in and out of the kitchen” way. And I loved it.

Rachel is such a completely realistic, empathetic character that I truly had to pause and remind myself she wasn’t real. Ford herself is a popular blogger and it certainly read that way. From obsessively checking blog stats to realizing for the first time that we’re not “shouting into the void” — you know, when we get our first comment — Ford completely understands what it means to put your life online. From start to finish, Rachel felt like a friend. Like a blogger you visit daily for the latest recipes and stories of life from a 35-year-old woman ready for a change.

Though slim — only about 200 pages — the book is packed with weighty issues like marriage, love, family, infertility and letting go. Food is a major theme in the book, of course, but Ford doesn’t delve too deep into her cookbooks; learning to cook is merely the device through which Rachel becomes self-sufficient, confident and adventurous. The real issue here is ready or not our heroine is ready to let go of the love she allowed to slip through her fingers . . . and I think the conclusion reached was fantastic.

Basically, I loved this book. It wasn’t without minor issues, but they never hampered my overall enjoyment of the story. Realistic, moving and addictive, Life From Scratch was a novel I truly didn’t want to end. Ford is working on a sequel, I hear, and I’ll be first in line. Pick this one up and lose yourself for a while . . . I certainly did.

4.5 out of 5!

ISBN: 0061984027 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program


20 thoughts on “Book review: ‘Life From Scratch’ by Melissa Ford

  1. I really liked Julie & Julia, and am definitely okay with reading something else along the same lines. Food and blogging and figuring out life? Great combination.

  2. The fact that you didn’t want this book to end is one of the major reasons I will definitely check it out. It’s books like this that demand a sequel that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

    Thanks for the wonderful review!

  3. This one sounds really interesting! I saw the movie Julie and Julia and I wasn’t crazy about it, but I think I might like it better in book form, so this seems like one I may want to try!

  4. Oh this sounds so good! I had never heard of it before, but reading your review I immediately went and added it to my TBR list. Your blog makes my wishlist so long!

  5. This sounds like a really delightful read. I read and loved Julie and Julia. I love the voice of the blogger in a book: it so personal and I can’t help but really feel like I’m just talking to a good friend. So comfortable. And I love books about food. I hope I’ll be able to pick it up soon.

  6. This is an amazing book!!! It is currently available on as a FREE kindle download (#1 bestselling free kindle book). I can’t wait for word to spread about this book because I absolutely love it!

  7. Just finished reading this book as a free kindle selection and recommended it to members of my book club. A delightful read!

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