Top critical review
17 people found this helpful
Too much on her family, not enough on David
on 4 April 2000
This book doesn't warm up until about page 220, when Cooper has - finally - finished dissecting the lives of David's family, friends and acquaintances. There are whole wedges of pages you can skip if you want to read about David - Cooper, who has been given access to David's papers, takes the opportunity to analyse in depth the great writer's family background. She goes back several generations and, while the excuse might be that she does so to give the reader a grounding in David's background the result is sheer tedium as we read yet more about grandparents buying houses and godchildren taking exams. Good grief. Once she gets into the part of Elizabeth David's life when she was writing about cookery things move along a little more interestingly, but there's a lingering impression that all Cooper has done is précis David's papers and not spoken to any of her surviving friends and family. As a result, we know some of the detail of Elizabeth David's life but little of the emotion, apart from the small bits Cooper surmises from the papers. A very disappointing read.