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

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

  1. 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!

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  2. 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!

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  3. 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!

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  4. 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.

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  5. This is an amazing book!!! It is currently available on amazon.com 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!

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  6. 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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