Take Big Bites
by Linda Ellerbee

Putnam, 2005. ISBN 0399152687.
Reviewed by Doris Anne Roop-Benner
Posted on 10/02/2007

Nonfiction: Food/Cooking/Kitchen; Nonfiction: Travel/Adventure; Nonfiction: Relationships

Ellerbee writes just the way she speaks, and when you read Take Big Bites, you feel like she's talking directly to you. This is a book that you never want to end. It's a memoir about travel and food and friends and lovers and misadventures. She has done it all. Most of the time, she travels alone. She prefers that so she's forced to talk to the people where she's visiting. Occasionally, she goes with a family member or friend to revisit a place from their past. She's been to some places that you've never heard of but want to go to after she describes them.

"Our travels are not always the voyages of discovery we say we seek, but rituals of reassurance," she writes. What fun!

When Ellerbee gets together with her friends, she reminds us that, to women, girlfriends are not a luxury, they are a healthy necessity. They sit around and talk-talk-talk, and even though they are now women, they feel like girls again.

Her holidays will remind you of your own and others when she describes how despite tradition, love, hope, passing time and sweet memories, the holidays will always be messy.

She tells us about becoming a grandmother and says she will be available, understanding, and weird because as a mother she was mostly weird. She plans to take her grandchildren places and show them things and give them wings. We all wish we had a mother/grandmother like that. I especially related when she talked about giving her children cookie dough to eat. My girls still keep a roll of cookie dough in the refrigerator for emergency sugar fixes. And the food... She makes it part of every story, and it all sounds so good. She even provides recipes.

One delightful thing the author tells us (and she tells us quite a lot) is that, "Sometimes in life, if you're lucky, you are where you most want to be at that moment." And wouldn't we all like to do that at least once.

Linda Ellerbee is a veteran of award-winning shows and runs Lucky Duck Productions. She has written two bestselling memoirs and is the author of a series of middle-school paperbacks. She gives speeches nationwide on surviving breast cancer. She also appeared as herself in an episode of Murphy Brown (for which some say she was the inspiration). Linda lives in New York City and Massachusetts.

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