Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Sit down, relax and enjoy...
on 9 October 2013
I enjoy reading about other people; their trials, tribulations and joys. This book has it all. Prue Leith is so laid back in her narrative. It feels as if she's chatting at a personal level! I felt as if a good friend settled in for the evening and over a few glasses, she told me her life story. I was entranced. I wanted to know every detail of her life in South Africa, her escape to France, settlement in Britain. Her quirky actress mother, her siblings and most of all her illicit arrangement with her lover. It's no easy task to turn the minutiae of everyday life into a gripping narrative. In a highly competitive autobiography market, this stands head and shoulders above the rest. I believe that's because it's honest and from the heart.
Prue Leith pulls no punches in describing her duplicity in concealing her domestic arrangements. It's a moral boundary most would prefer not to condone or cross. But it's also a tale of true love and two souls who were surely destined to be together. And it's easy to forget the extent to which she's influenced the restaurant industry. I well remember the dire divisions of the 70s. Restaurants were either glitzy and posh or if more relaxed, bordering on greasy spoon. A young, visionary Ms Leith introduced a different concept to dining. Great food, great surroundings and great fun was the key to a good eating experience. She influenced a national change in expectations about eating out. Although her restaurants were in London, her books and newspaper columns meant that her views spread to the regions. She challenged the all male environment of the professional kitchen, even changing the view of the Head Chef at the Savoy. He claimed no woman would work in his kitchen ( and gave his laughable reason). But ended up headhunting a young female chef. The book is filled with fascinating insight into the wider business world too. Prue's role on numerous diverse committees, boards and other bodies resulted in the demise of the curly British Rail sandwich and the great supermarket Butchers banger. Some remarkable achievements recounted with wit and candour.
This is one of the most compelling and fascinating books I've read in a while. Despite her name, she was often more imprudence! Lots of snippets and insights but over all, a totally disarming honesty; humorous and heartfelt, I loved this. Thank you, Prue, for sharing so much. Loved it!