When I checked this book out from the library, my intention was only to check out the recipes in the back. But I started reading Roland Mesnier's life story, and found myself totally engrossed in it. What an inspirational life story this is.... Mr. Mesnier grew up poor in France, and through talent, determination, and a lot of hard work, he became probably one of the best pastry chefs on the planet.
Several things stood out for me in this book. The first was how interesting his early life was.. how he grew up with basically nothing, became an apprentice, perfected his craft, and continually pushed himself to become better and better--even during his later days at the White House. He never once rested on his laurels, although he easily could have.
The second thing that stood out for me was how he regarded each of the "first families" he worked for. He clearly grew very attached to whoever he worked for, and through his eyes I was able to see the various Presidents and First Ladies as the normal human beings they are. That's an interesting perspective you don't usually see.
Thirdly, I could barely keep my mouth from watering while reading about all the amazing desserts that were prepared over Mr. Mesnier's 40-something year career! Note: don't read this if you are hungry.
One last note: One of the reviewers mentioned a left-leaning slant to Mr. Mesnier's politics. I simply did not see that. In fact, he seemed particularly attached to the family of Bush Sr. And when the Iraq war was looming, he was in full support of it, so much so that he couldn't believe that his home country of France was against it. There are many other examples, but the point is, Mr. Mesnier was very loyal to whomever he served, whether Democrat or Republican.