I’m just getting started on Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter and already I love it. I found Frank Bruni’s review in The New York Times Sunday books section a little annoying, so I’m interested to see if his main criticism, that she withholds important information—like about her romantic entanglements or her body of writing—holds up (and by that I mean, matters).
My bar for the memoir is particularly high right now having just finished Patti Smith’s Just Kids. And she breezes by a lover’s infidelity and their break-up in a single paragraph to no ill effect. Hers is also part food memoir as she chronicles what she ate—as well as what she wore—throughout. Lettuce on bread when she was homeless; lobster when she was with Sam Shepard.
But, back to Hamilton. Her “anger” and “candor” may “undercut her likability” as Bruni reports, but she won me over before the book even began. The title page sports a simple, faded, black-and-white image of a spear of asparagus and at the bottom left the details of the “artwork” tell it all: Blood Asparagus/11″ x 11″/human blood on paper towel/2000/Gabrielle Hamilton
She may be angry, but she sure as hell is funny.