Another huge thank you to Jenny (otherwise known as Jenny in Neverland) for setting up this blog tour.
With all that said, it’s time to give my thoughts on Sylvia’s book: The Sinking Chef.
I’ll be honest – Women’s Fiction is a field I am just starting to navigate. So when I was offered the opportunity to read this book, and to help out the wonderful Sylvia and Jenny, I was both curious and excited. I’m always willing to try something new!
So, what did I think? Well…
In Belsize Park, London, Ashley works hard on her daily YouTube channel “The Sinking Chef”. It’s filmed right in her kitchen, so she doesn’t go out much.
James is a gruff British TV director, turned publisher, who Ashley had a crush on ages ago. She has moved on but when he calls with an offer to take her out to lunch she doesn’t say no. It’s only lunch – what can go wrong?
The day Ashley meets James for lunch and he promises her a book deal, she makes the worse decision in her life – to hide the book deal from her boyfriend, Giacomo. As things progress Ashley’s secrets mount up and other things in her life unravel. Is there a connection? And how is she going to get out of this without losing Giacomo and the life she loves?
Every girl has been Ashley at some point.
Her voice is charming, funny, and energetic from start to finish. Her characterisation is really clear and, though I found myself face-palming at some of her decisions, I ultimately rooted for her to come out on top in the end.
Every girl has also met a James and Giacomo. The literal personification of the patriarchy, with his guilt tripping, suit wearing, patronising smugness – or the well-meaning boy with a heart of gold, but too insecure to open up about his problems. They couldn’t be more different, but they are a boat load of fun to read.
The plot is a little predictable, but ultimately enjoyable. And the narration, even if it strayed a little too frequently tangents, was casual, chatty, and made me feel like I was sitting down and having a nice cup of tea with the main character.
The only flaw that I saw – and a rather major one, I feel – was the fact that Ashley is a Youtuber. Now, don’t get me wrong: The idea of her being a youtube chef is awesome. It’s not something I’ve seen tackled in a fictional book before, and can lead to some hilarious possibilities.
But I have to be honest: Ashley didn’t feel like a Youtuber to me.
One of my best friends is a Youtuber. Not a cooking one, but a Youtuber nonetheless. And with a subscriber count similar to Ashley’s – in the hundreds of thousands – I couldn’t help but get a little annoyed at the way Youtubing is portrayed in this book.
I have seen first-hand how hard he works. How he stays up late at night to edit his videos. How he is always brainstorming, or filming, or scripting, or re-filming, or booking tickets for tours, or working on props, or sorting out finances, how has to push himself everyday to keep his subscriber count growing.
So then, when one of the opening scenes in this book is Ashley, bored, with nothing to do, bemoaning the fact that her job keeps her inside all day with no one to talk to, and nothing to work on, I got a little peeved.
Being a Youtuber – especially one popular enough to get a cookbook – takes a lot of hard work. And this really wasn’t reflected in the book; she felt more like a stay-at-home-mum, with no children, than a Youtuber.
While I understand that you can’t have the book be just about her job, I felt that more research needed to be done into the Youtube lifestyle. Some really interesting storytelling and plot threads could have come from her trying to balance out her secret, her relationship, and her heavy work schedule. And whenever she talked about her Youtube channel, or how she operates with it, it just rang really, really false with me.
Yet, with that said, the book is harmless enough. It got a good few laughs out of me and, overlooking the Youtuber thing, the main character is compelling enough to keep you reading. If you are a fan of Bridget Jones, or any women’s fiction filled with cooking, then I recommend you give this a try.
If nothing else, you’ll have a pleasant read, a sweet tooth, and a few recipes to try out when you turn that final page.
Another HUGE thank you to Jenny and Sylvia. I’ve loved being part of this blog tour, and wish Sylvia the very best with this book series!
If you have a book blog tour coming up, or simply want to say hello, leave a comment below, or contact me via Twitter or my contact page. I’d love to hear from you!