3 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Renee F. reviewed Blue Jelly : Love Lost the Lessons of Canning on
Former Rolling Stone writer Debby Bull's "Blue Jelly" is a simultaneous account of one woman's journey through depression and step-by-step recipe book of preserves. The idea is fun and quirky. Unfortunately, the content isn't as good as the premise.
The book is mildly funny, and it might be worth reading if you're really in a funk. But it probably won't be the protagonist's successful transformation from abject to alright that'll make you feel better. You'll more likely just experience a boost of confidence when you realize how much less pathetic than the main character you are.
I'm not sure how much of this story is autobiographical. I don't want to be insensitive to anyone's personal plights here, but the woman in this story was downright ridiculous. To clarify, at one point she's visiting a boy in a mental asylum. He's there for having murdered his abusive family. While she's talking to him, she breaks down crying and whines to him about how her relationships never go right... Seriously, lady? This poor kid has been through absolute hell, and you're asking him for sympathy because you can't resist throwing yourself into admittedly unpleasant but still totally escapable relationships. Co-dependency is rough, but come on. I think the protagonist deserved a life in the loony bin much more than that boy did.
To her credit, Bull's style doesn't waste your time. Her writing is compact and unadorned. Many people would be able to read this book in a day if it was remotely interesting to them. But as much as I'm a fan of minimalist writing, it didn't always work in this case. There wasn't really enough depth to get the reader invested, and extra clarification would have been useful at times.
This book is just pretty expendable. The best lesson you can take from it is that calming ritual activities are a good way to give your life context when you're feeling down, but any shrink can tell you that. If you want to read a story about a crazy person that's actually insightful, try "Fight Club." If you want jelly recipes, just Google them.